One of the much-loved activities we like to accomplish while in India is to visit unique villages. Because of the political elections causing unrest, and having so many guests at Prakash, the outing had to be delayed until yesterday. Boy howdy, was it fun. Even with a faulty air conditioner on the car, and way to hot for pure comfort the trip was worth the effort. The people—a mass of unwashed humanity—were so excited to see us and God provided a nice breeze. The gaggles of kids have now become much bolder, traipsing behind me and finding amusement in touching. I always return home with little black fingerprints on my backside.
The Chief was a little upset that we had not come sooner, until Suresh explained all the situations, mainly blaming it on the politicians.
Asking why there was some newly vacant land near the Chief’s house, I was told it was for MY house. Hoo Boy, that would be interesting!
(DO YOU THINK I WOULD BE ABLE TO DO IT THIS WAY????)
Actually, Dr. Suresh is planning to build a hall for a church, meetings, possible school, etc. Of course, money will have to be provided for this project. The gift of land is the greatest gift these people have to give. The Chief would rather give one of his 9 daughters, than to give land. It truly shows his respect for Dr. Suresh and Vanda.
Knowing that the “torch” would soon need some new batteries, Loren brought three new ones from the US. Batteries cost an arm and a leg in India. The Chief glommed onto the now working torch, but was dumbfounded that Loren would know he had lost one battery in the jungle and needed new ones. Loren just laughed, “I didn’t know, just thought it was time for new ones.”
One of the true ways to show friendship is to have “tea,” but with the water conditions totally unacceptable for our digestive system we have had to apologetically decline the offer each time we visited the village. Feeling the tripwires that surrounded us in the Indian culture this time we decided to bring “tea” from our kitchen—with plenty of sugar—and sit with the most important families for the “tea ceremony.” I was pleased to see the Chief, as a loving father, hand his precious cup of tea to his small daughter, snuggled at his feet. Only when I convinced him that we had plenty, would he accept another cup.
The dimly lit room—kept barely cool by fan whirling overhead—was darken even more by the number of children crowding the doorway. There is no furniture inside except a few chairs for older ones and decrepit foreigners such as we who aren’t used to sitting on the floor. Soon I felt beads of sweat snaking down my ribcage. (So…ladylike Sylvia!!!)
We were introduced to a woman sitting on the polished cow-dung floor and told she is NOT a tribal, but is privileged to be included because she is a Christian. She and her husband live on a farm in the vicinity and Vanda is now holding weekly Bible study and prayer meetings in her home. Unbelievable!!!!
As the Chief is trying to forge a path out of poverty the battered mishmash of stick and mud-brick huts and shacks (BEFORE)
are slowly tuning into red brick, concrete plastered bungalows. (AFTER)
This village is ever-changing, even though we love the quaint old ways; we also know that progress is coming and needed.
We were proudly shown the newly built bathroom, NOT to be confused with a toilet.
We ASSUMED it was a toilet, but were quickly corrected—they still prefer the “natural way” and use the small building ONLY for bathing. As it is, bathing is a new practice for them and completely unheard of 17 years ago when we first visited this tribe.
I returned back to Prakash with only a small amount of “Golden fertilizer”
on my tennies.
Just couldn’t resist sending this picture. You all know I am a sucker for babies.