Day 6 was amazing. We traveled to the outskirts of Bilaspur to visit a village that was home to a Women’s self-help group. They completely abolished gambling and alcoholism in their village. They were opinionated, bossy, lively, hilarious and spirited. Total badasses. We loved them. 

Eden posing in the village. See the water buffalo in the back ground?

Yeah, it turns out they were coming to kill us. We shrieked and clutched at each other as they bolted towards us. One of the nervous villagers herded us out of the way. We can now officially say to each other Hey remember that time we almost got killed by water buffalo in India?.

The women welcomed us into their beautiful silk tent with flowers. I also got a coconut. Bonza. 

Eden and this gorgeous lady adored each other. They compared tattoos (her marriage markings and Eden’s skulls), laughed their asses off and shared stories of their families. Eden can talk to anyone, even if they don’t speak the same language. 

Kelly is so calm and warm. Eden and I throw ourselves at people but Kelly makes quiet, special friendships, just like our gorgeous girl Joy. Anyone would let Misho take their photo, he has such a beautiful manner and Sam stood solidly by and watched us all like a hawk. It was the perfect team to travel with and I miss them all so much. 

A lesson in selfies. 

They asked us to sing for them. We decided that a solemn and traditional rendition of ‘Kookaburra Sits in The Old Gumtree‘ was the most appropriate choice.

The colours were just beautiful in the tent. It was there that Eden declared she was going to let colour into her life. I fully support her decision but I’m from Melbourne. No trip to India is going to make me give up my monochrome outfit palette. Bitch please.

Having Misho on the trip was amazing. I will cherish this photo for ever. 

The view from outside my hotel window in Bilaspur. India constantly felt unreal. I can hardly even remember seeing this with my own eyes, it was so extraordinary. 

This was the day that I had my whole life summed up in one sentence. There was a woman there that day who was a government representative of the village. She had been voted in by her people, which was very rare for a woman. She asked if she could sing us a song and one of the lines of the song was translated to us.

The running water is always pure.

She was emotional when she told us of her struggles and her subsequent rise to power. She kept saying ‘keep moving, keep moving’. I totally got what she meant.

It was a moment of clarity for me but also a moment of clarity for Smaggle. I’ve always known what the purpose of Smaggle is but I had a hard time articulating it. The word Smaggle is a cross between a smash and a snuggle. It’s really violent affection, which means being too enthusiastic about everything. A little bit hyperactive, a little bit too keen. If you ‘smaggle’ someone it means you hug them until it hurts. 

Smaggle means running too fast and falling flat on your face and laughing instead of crying when your face gets covered in mud. It means saying yes. To almost everything. It means trying something new, even if you’re 100% sure that you won’t like it. It’s not about striving for perfection, it’s not about success. It’s about strapping on your Stack Hat and barreling full pelt down a giant hill on a kids sized bicycle. Because when you aren’t moving, nothing is happening. 

With that I leave you with the official tag line of Smaggle.

Smaggle. Get into it.

P.S  Thank you all so much for your support and words of love. It’s been amazing. If I could reach through the internets and give you a rib-cracking hug, I would. 

To sponsor a child and help a community like this one visit World Vision Australia.