Wednesday, May 23, 2012

India, Part II: The Overview Continued



On the train ride we experienced the first of MANY cups of masala tea during our India stay {also known as chai}.  We arrived, well caffeinated and slightly stir crazy, to the piping hot town of Bokaro. Bokaro Steel City is one of the most industrialized zones in India and home to the largest steel plant in Asia. But we never saw anything that would have clued us in to those facts. Instead, we were overwhelmed by the intense spiritual climate and focused the first day on the power of worship (but more on that later). We also were focused on finding clothes that covered us appropriately. After an extended, hot, hot time at the market with our hosts bartering for shirts and a little beggar girl staying right by our side, we came back to our hotel and tried on our next day's outfits. We all found picked from the bag of eight the one we thought looked most like us and held our breath that we had some sort of pants to match. The next day we received beautiful, threaded garlands of flowers from the children after a song of, "Welcome to zhe fam-i-lee...we are so glad you've come to share your love wiz us."



And sharing our love came easily. All kids are cute, but each of my girls came alive loving these adorable, sixty-some kids. 



We had planned fun games with a mix of educational lessons. As the heat rose in May, schools throughout the region were coming to a close for summer break. This little school stayed open for us for one more week so we could be welcomed to zhe fam-i-lee. We planned four days of lessons some with educational material but mostly things for fun to help them celebrate their first week of summer. 


Day one was crazy eyes day. We asked before arriving if Indian children were silly. The word they preferred to use was the little British term naughty. And yes, they were hysterically, charmingly naughty.
    
Day two was crazy hair day. We talked about how deeply they are cared for by God that even the hairs on their heads are numbered. Then, we had a crazy hair contest. And Caroline totally won! The kids got candy and hidden pictures. We got chai and more time with the kids. It was a great day!






Day three was crazy feet day. We played relay games, drew with chalk and sang lots of action songs. Despite the language barrier, we found some songs in common and each taught the other some new ones. The kids were headed home by 9:30 as usual to beat the intense, over 107 degree heat.






Day four was crazy hands day. This was our last day with the kids and things had been going a little unruly for the day. We painted nails and played soccer, but games weren't going as planned and the teacher in me was overwhelmed at the disorder. A teacher asked us in the mayhem to play a water game before we left. We had been afraid of wasting their valuable water but agreed after seeing her disappointment. The game started simple with water bottles wetting kids when the music stopped. But one of my girls took a risky step and poured water on the female teacher, Monika. Obviously knowing something about retaliation even if she'd never been in a water fight, Monika grabbed a cup and poured it back on Devri. I'll type this slowly so as not to lose any of the sacredness...


What...followed...next...was...the...most...bonding...barrier-breaking...hour.  Everyone was laughing and screaming and having an absolute blast in a first ever (for them) water fight. The drivers, the gardener, the cooks, the office administrator's wife and especially the children. Some were laughing so hard they even peed themselves. ;) We'll let you guess who that might have been.


Once, the tiny cook even snuck up behind me with a pitcher full of water and poured it down my back. I screamed and tore out after her. This fight was magical and as one teacher said, "Something we'll never forget for the rest of our lives."






We returned to the hotel disgustingly dirty and packed for our train departure back to Kolkata.




Once back, we enjoyed time with more kids in the surrounding villages playing games, teaching and performing skits. And we spent a little time at the Kolkata mall after a rough Saturday when we felt totally spiritually attacked and found out our airline pilots were going on strike. Gelato and shopping were sweet reprieves. 


Our final two days looked a lot like sightseeing, prayer walking and packing. We did very little shopping to the girls dismay. :) We visited Mother Teresa's home, an orphanage, played an incredibly funny game of hotel sardines and daily journaled and debriefed our day.


Tuesday, departure day, we found out our flights home were cancelled...and we watched as God provided tickets in our price range that got us home within hours of our original flights. 


Tonight...I'm rushing to finish and head to bed but there is so much more to share. I'm working to get all of my pictures up online...and tomorrow will share my most exciting post, India, Part III: The Confirmations. :) God did good, good things in my heart despite the roller coaster of logistical nightmares. 


I look forward to sharing tomorrow.







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