Friday, August 19, 2011

Tracy Chapman (Last days in India)

"I've seen and met angels wearing the disguise of ordinary people living ordinary lives." 

During play time
Lots of love for coming home

Getting back from Delhi was comforting, of course, the 5 star hotel was comforting, but it felt like we were back at home. There is no greater feeling than the feeling of a home. We all missed the kids and they were excited to see us.

 Over the next couple days we went to medical twice, construction, and education. First medical day we worked in a colony that was designated for singles. For people who had either lost a spouse, were disowned by their spouse, or were never married. It was an interesting concept that I would have never thought of myself. The second medical day we did was a little hectic. Our group went around to three different colonies delivering shoes. All of their feet had been measure previous months and they were made, and we finally got them and were able to get them and do some quick readjustments so that they fit their feet, whatever condition they were in. The first village we went to, they weren’t there. They didn’t know we were coming so we weren’t able to give them their shoes. The second colony, was back to the old folks home. Fortunately the measuring and giving of the shoes was a task for one, maybe two people, so we just got to visit there and just see the people again. A couple of them were so excited and remembered us. There was the guy there that remembered me dancing and the moment he saw me he started to dance again and we all got a kick out of that. After that we went to an extremely small colony where there were only three people that had been effected by leprosy. We did our stations there, washed oiled, bandage, ect, and then finished by putting their new shoes on them. It was a long day but it was good. 
Construction was horrific... we were on campus today because all of the bathrooms and septic tanks in the one colony were finished. Our job was to fix the shelter that was supposed to be for the goat, I believe. They needed to but new tin walls around it so that it would hold up during monsoon season. It started off an extremely humid and hot day and there were bugs EVERYWHERE. Red ants were covering the tin sheets that we had to carry over, they were on the ground everywhere. Huge black ants were on all of the trees and their leaves, so you had to watch where you were walking so you didn’t bump into a tree leaf or anything for that matter. Although the conditions were rough, everyone still seemed to have a good sense of humor and we laughed quite a bit. Mostly at the native workers that did things completely different than we did, and to us, it was not logical at all but it organized chaos is the them of India and works quite well for them. I caught of glimpse of what I though was a mouse, run up and on the other side of one of our backpacks, so I walked to it and looked around to see. It was not a mouse. It was a spider, and I am terrified of spiders! I did not react well and the native worker tried to kill it multiple times with his hat and missed it nearly every time. A little bit of an adrenaline rush!
There was the most amazing lightning storm this week. One night the rain came a little bit more heavy than usual. The lightning came and lasted about an hour and a half and we just sat against the wall inside and watched through the big open commons we had in our housing. It was beautiful and amazing. I felt as if the lighting were striking on every side of us, it would light up the sky as bright as day and the thunder would shake the ground. It was a miracle that we still had electricity considering that it went our multiple times a day on account of nothing.
My house mom and most of our boys, just being boys...
I have convinced myself my whole life that I need to be tough. I have learned here that that it is a problem and to show any emotions, though it sometimes is the hardest thing, it is usually the most honest thing a person can do. I am sad to leave India and will miss my friends, the funny memories, and the more than friendly people of India. 
After the two hour ride back into Chennai the driver dropped me off at the international part of the airport and was on his way. I was quite alone and quite confident. This was the first time though, I realized later, that I had been completely on my own at an airport and at first it was a rush then formed into a regret. Luckily a lot of people at the airport speak or understand at least a little bit of english. I met the most lovely lady named Sally, from North Dakota, in line behind me. It was one of the most entertaining conversations I have every had. She was probably in her late 50’s early 60’s and still a complete hippy. She had lived in India for about 35 years and was working with a company that traveled around the world teaching people how to prepare and be cautious during elephant stampeding... I’m not quite sure how it works but it sounds great. I can’t count how many times in that conversation I said, “Good for you, that’s great!” I had a hard time finding any other kind of response for the stories she was telling me. She did ask me though, if I had porcelain teeth, and if you were wondering, I do not. After an interesting trek through the airport I finally boarded the plane which was a relief but it was not the end. Many adventures ahead of me! India.. changed my life.

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