Well our flights combined were about 18 hours. We had a nine-hour layover in London and we were able to get out of the airport. We didn’t hangout much because it was raining. We did manage to get a pint and some fish and chips at pub. We had yet another red eye flight to Mumbai topped off with a seven-hour car ride to Vyarra, or five hours in Indian time. We got picked up by three of Cleveland’s friends: Kishor, Vinay and Sunil. Sunil is the best driver I’ve ever seen, it makes me realize why they make such good taxi drivers. He drove us out of the city in what I can only describe as the most chaotic experience I’ve ever had. There were cars, buses, motorcycles, semi trucks, pedestrians and animals everywhere. Everyone is honking and I thought we were going to die multiple times. During the drive I noticed the extreme poverty the people live in, and because of the caste system, are content with their conditions. But this extreme poverty only made the beautiful colors of India stand out even more. The women wear the most beautiful and colorful saris. It is very stunning. India is a county that appeals to all five senses in a way that really has to be experienced.
Now the drive through the country is no exception to the chaos. I dozed off for a bit after lunch only to awake to the sound of horns, pedestrians all over the road and the headlights of a two-ton semi truck heading right at us. We also seemed to be the only car in a hurry. We were flying down the road, narrowly missing everything. But we made it safe and I am very thankful for that. The experiences I’ve had already are incredible. The men who have been taking us to these villages and the villagers are amazing and very beautiful with amazing stories. The men are incredible men of God. They are all educated and could be working in the major cities making good money but instead are using their education and skills to bring education to the children of their villages. It’s simply amazing their commitment and the heart they have for these children and I am very thankful to be apart of their movement.
Nicole you are right, I am eating some great food and I love you. So far we have eaten like kings, we haven’t had a bad meal yet. We have been treated to some excellent homemade meals and some restaurant meals. When we go to restaurants we order tons of food. We order enough food to feed about nine people which ends up only costing us about $20. It’s ridiculous how much food we buy and every meal has been delicious. My favorite so far has been the breakfast we had Sunday at Kishor’s house. We had the best eggs I’ve ever had and some deep fried leaf wraps.
The city we’re staying at, Vyara, and the villages we’ve been going to not tourist spots. They are deep in the heart of India. This being the case, everywhere we go people stare at us. It’s a little unnerving because there are radical Hindus out there who don’t like Westerners. Whenever I start walking through a village or Vyara by myself, Vinay tells me to come back. Whenever we go through the city, the beggars always find us. They come right up to, and sometimes they follow us back to our hotel, asking for money the whole way there. It’s kind of ironic because if it weren’t for their religion, they wouldn’t be so poor. Kishor told me that he hasn’t seen a Christian begging yet.
I have a lot to be thankful for. My health has been good. My tummy was still a little woozy from Wednesday night so I had a lot of “special drink” on the flight and it really helped. I have tons of stories and pictures already and I can’t wait to share with all of you. And as soon as I find out the mailing address of where I’m going to stay I’ll post it. Leschi students you can write me letters and I will write back to you. Aubrey, I can’t wait to get those peanut butter cookies for Christmas but I am going to want some fresh ones on my return. But I don’t even want to think about returning.
Also, for those of you not on Facebook, send me and e-mail if you want to receive a link to view the photos I post from India. firstname.lastname@example.org