We were up-an-at-’em early to travel roads that no car was ever constructed to travel in order to visit the tribal village where Vasentha and his bride live. As we arrived we were flabbergasted to see a group of children, bathed and dressed, some in their school uniforms, waiting on dirty carpets, to thank us for the Shoeboxes.
First, we had to make them understand the boxes were not from US, but all of you in America who care about these extremely underprivileged children. I thought back to the first time I was in this clannish village, not one child had EVER gone to school or EVER taken a bath. Now, every morning eight of these kids get up and go down to the river for a bath before going to school. Because one person listened to that “still small voice of God,” an entire village has been impacted with a better life.
There were garlands given, not normally their tradition, but what, they think, we think, will show respect, then the kids sang a song they had learned in DVBS this summer. Loren had chocolates (candy) for them and I collected all the candy papers to be burned, again, totally not their culture or India’s for that matter. Later, I tried to teach the kids a funny little English action song, forgetting that they can’t say “w’s” and it comes out as a “v.” So the “Ittsy Bitsy Spider vent up the vater spout. Dove came the rain and vashed the spider out, etc, etc.” We all laughed and laughed, but they gave it a good try.
I never cease to be amazed by the contrasts of India, and was stunned when a giggling Nupi said, “The chief thinks you look like the lady in Titanic.” “WHAT???? Puhleeeeeeeeeze!! How does he even know about the Titanic?” No running water, grass huts with cow dung and twig walls, food cooked over burning sticks, and TV wire connection (laying on the ground) pirated from a neighboring village—this doesn’t compute!
Of course, now Loren calls me “Rose.”
The Chief stunned us yet again by asking Loren for a copy of the “Jesus” film. We didn’t know they even had a DVD player. Oh, WOW, the progress in this village is unbelievable. Vasentha and his wife have the Book of John now translated into their unwritten language. This is a verbal culture. They used the Marathi symbols and this way Dr. Suresh and Nupi can type and edit for them. Later it will be printed and distributed. There are about 1500 villages with 1500 or so people in each village using this same unwritten language. Now that several of the children are going to school they will read this precious book to their elders in the evenings. The Chief also asked us for pictures of our house…no way will that happen…so he can show his people how other parts of the world live. We may get a travel DVD for them. In just a few short years, there has been such dramatic change and a never-before-desire to learn.
Noticing there were only a few goats IN the village, Loren asked, “What happened?” All the goats of the village had to be sold due to the fact that these people are so far down on the priority list of the government, their goats were not given the needed vaccine in time to save the herd. This means the tribe is again making wine for it sole livelihood.
I was anxious to see baby Connor, but he was at the doctors’ with his father. He did return just before we left and I was so thankful we were still there so Nupi could explain the four medications the doctor had given. No instructions were verbally given; therefore, a father that can neither read nor write cannot understand the directions. Why should I be astonished at God’s perfect timing for our visit?