The Joy of Shopping

Jan 25, 2012 | India

There are parts of ministry that are never noted in the quote-quote Missionary Handbook.  Taking care of your responsibilities in India involves a lot of effort merely to subsist.  Just the process of purchasing and preparing food for the table requires mountains of time.


When shopping, there is no one place in which we can find everything we need.  Oh how I appreciate my Whole Foods at home.  Certainly, the produce we get here is WHOLE and is FOOD, but it takes five or six stops to acquire all the items on the list.   With more mouths to feed it necessitates more trips.  We simply do not have storage for a lot of fresh produce.


Due to the fact that Bob is here, we have invited one executive staff member to lunch with us each day.  They made a schedule and anticipate their day with eagerness.


The vegetable market is separate from the fruit market.  Usually it is in close proximity, but still separate.

Did you know that if you want the freshest peas you don’t just grab a handful from the top of the pile, but open your hand, running your fingers in a circular motion grasping your handful?  All the wilted, not-so good peas will be left behind.  Go figure!

Also, the brightest and most colorful carrots are NOT the ones to purchase, especially for us.  They have been soaked in water.  Who knows what kind of water???



I nearly gagged at the “grocery” shop when the shopkeeper took the jar of jam I was holding and his dirty rag then proceeded to the entrance of the shop where he dipped his rag in a filthy puddle of muddy water and wiped around the lid.  Nupi saw my reaction and said, “Nani, at least the jar is sealed.”


For a few years now we have been able to buy “brown bread” at a TINY bakery.  This has been a great addition to our diet.  Before this find, the bread was like eating cardboard and not worth the tasteless calories.  Annaul Bakery, has in fact, changed the names on several of their products because of what I call them—a round flatbread became Pizza bread.   Elongated Pau (buns) became hotdog buns.  Round pau became hamburger buns. 

I had never been up the narrow three flights of stairs at the rear of the shop to see the actual bakery, and was not so sure I wanted to see it.  Finally, the other day we took Bob and dared to make the trek.  The stairs and floors were super slick from oil and flour so we needed to be extra careful.  (I didn’t fall, almost did, but I caught myself)


The smells were wonderful and certainly made you overlook some of the hygiene issues. 


I say, “If I can’t peel it or it is not cooked, I won’t eat it.”  These baked goodies were COOKED.


There was also a trip to Itwari for TP, paper towels and cloth hand towels for the team that is coming later.


Of course, something always happens to me—my shoe broke—and I will NOT walk barefooted around cow patties, mud, and garbage, etc.  Thankfully, Loren hired a bicycle rick-a-shaw to take all the boxes and me back to the car.


Please pray for Bob.  As hard as we have tried—getting a new Geezer (hot water heater) and fixing the plumbing—the poor man has had a cold shower each morning since his arrival.  Welcome to INDIA!!!!