The amount of images I have from each day is overwhelming. It would be too immense to just place in one post per day-that and the fact that I forgot to adjust my timestamp in my camera is proving to make it all the more difficult in determining what day I took each picture. These following pictures are also from day 3. Then we can get to day 4!
After lunch we took a walk into the village. We passed multiple temples. There are over 330 million Gods. This idea is so complex and foreign to me. A religion seemingly based on superstition, perpetuated by more superstition and self fulfillment. I am sure there is much more to it than that, but that is my first impression and somewhat uneducated observation.
We walked to the river’s edge where the villagers bathe and a temple stands guard, accepting sacrifices. Glancing towards the river we were greeted with a most unexpected sight. I small group of water buffalo proceeding to the steps, where they exited the river, walked through town and into someone’s house.
We headed back to CEM and along the way we purchased some fresh coconut water. And then were promptly followed by some very curious kids!
We spent time in the morning with the residents of the Agape Old Age Home. The residents are being added to the NoChild sponsorship lists. We are all privy to the fact that children all over the world are being thrown out, neglected, abused and just let to end for themselves, but rarely do we hear about what happens to the elderly around the world. For the same reasons that the kids are left or brought to CEM, so are the elderly. I did not expect that it would be so hard for me to hear about their stories. The worn and wrinkled faces depicted a much harsher reality than most people can empathize with. One cannot even begin to guess their ages. Most are far younger than you would think. And just like the children, they long to be seen, heard and loved.
I am guessing its frowned upon to have favorites, but this one? My favorite!!!!
My morning began at 3:30 am.. They were not kidding about the adjustment to the time zone, or lack thereof. I looked at is as an opportunity and stole way to the rooftop and stared at the stars. All of them unfamiliar. A quarter moon shining just bright enough to see the silhouettes of palm trees and buildings in the distance. I sat there listening to the village come to life. First the birds, the roosters then a muslim call to prayer, followed by the bells o the hindu shrine. Each sound unique and distinct, some haunting and some comforting. And then the sweet sound of the children rising for the day.
Our daily agenda began with calisthenics that harkened to old movies I have seen where the staunch Brits do deep knee bends and plan their day around Tiger hunts a top elephants. Yet no Brits and no elephants, and thankfully, no tigers! Post exercise I was coerced into tasting the coffee-something I really dislike, however, this was not just any coffee. It was chai coffee with water buffalo milk and sugar. And it was delicious!!! I was quickly addicted and greedy for every last drop I could gulp down.
Sunday is market day-their equivalent of the farmers market. It was a plethora of scents and sights. Sometimes it might be better to not know what it looks like before it’s cooked.We headed to Sunday services where shortly into the service the children started dropping like flies. One by one they sunk down into their seats, slid down to the floor or flopped their bodies on top of my lap and fell asleep. It was fantastic! The Americans were then asked to come forward at the end of service to pray over anyone who might want it. It was a wonderful opportunity to pray directly for people and their needs.
Sleeping babes. (photo credit: Stephanie Crane)
Daily onion chopping.
On our way to market.
All you can eat shrimp?
My first full day ater market was filled with the children and all wanting a “photo”. I have what seems to be a mountain of images of the kids that I cannot fit into this post but will do so on my next entry.
Deciding to travel to India was an act of obedience. When God told me that India was where I was to go to next He did not have to twist my arm, as I could only imagine it was a photographers dream land. But what I was not clear about, and maybe by the time I get through the day-to-day processing I will understand, is the why. Why did God want me to be in India? There were other options. In fact I had friends all going on various trips at the same time-each inviting me into their journey, but God said India. So I obey, with no agenda-except hoping for some great photos. So I am inviting you along on my visual and written journey through India and hopefully by the end we will all know the why.
The travel to India is not quick, about 30 hours all together. Of course I started it out by blindly putting my more than 4 ounces of cough syrup in my carry-on. Well done! This was a pleasant catalyst for delays at each checkpoint all the way through 4 flights-including a small pair of tiny scissors that was in my toiletries, not detecting until Mumbai. And just for the record-there were multiple times I actually needed them.
In any case, we arrived safely and were adorned with garlands of flowers and shuttled to CEM to gt started. The air was warm, filled with various scents and held a haze, like a veil hiding secrets and superstitions. Upon arrival at CEM we were overwhelmingly welcomed greeted with a child-lined pathway, singing sings if welcome and faces beaming with joy and expectation. I could not help but feel embarrassed and out-of-place and completely undeserving. What were their expectations? What were they hoping to get from me and how will I disappoint them? Because I am bound to disappoint. Maybe they were just happy someone showed up, if even for a short time, to see them. Because that is what we all want in our core; to be seen, heard, known, loved. So, I guess we start at that commonplace.
On my way!
The welcoming committee!