We are in India!! It was quite the journey. We had a very interesting entry into this country and it brought on a bit of culture shock, but Praise the Lord everyone is healthy and doing well.
We took 2 flights via Singapore and landed in Chennai. We met our contact for the 2nd city we will stay as he came to meet us in Chennai and help us navigate our place to stay. We were brought by Taxi (suv) to a small church. On our way we took in the sights and sounds and smells of India, including coconut stands, random cows standing on the side of the street and cars, tuk-tuk (auto rickshaws) and people everywhere. At the church we were greeted by giggling youth group girls and jelly sandwiches and orange pop. We were exhausted and waiting to find out where we would be staying.
We were then told we would be staying at the church because they were unable to find us a place to stay. The girls from our team slept on grass mats on the floor and we were given a small room with a slat bed to sleep. Out our door was a squatty potty/shower (you basically hover over the squatty with a small bucket of water to pour over yourself. It was unbelievably humid and dirty and we got eaten by bugs but we were humbled at the excitement and hospitality we were shown.
The next day we found out that our train tickets for the train we were meant to take had not been purchased and there were no tickets left. Our contact for our 2nd place was able to arrange a mini bus to take us to his town where a train could take us to our destination. It was said to be a 3hr journey by mini bus. Mini bus for 24 people, luggage piled on top, enough said. The journey ended up taking 6 hrs and including one squatty potty break and a flat tire (which was miraculously changed rather quickly with the aid of my intelligent hubby)
We boarded the train to take the 15 hr journey north to our destination. Thankfully there were beds and we were able to sleep most of the journey. I have to say I was impressed at my ability to use a squatty on a rocking train.
Once in our destination we took a CRAZY tuk-tuk (rickshaw auto) ride with our luggage. It was insane but also fun! Our city is so chaotic and packed with people. We are very thankful that we are staying at a pastoral care center that is a little tucked away off the street. It's quite and a nice respite for us in the craziness of the city.
We have water a few hours a day and electricity a few hours a day and thankfully throughout the night so that the ceiling fan is working. We are in a single room with a tiny back room and a bathroom where we take cold bucket baths. The weather is hot and mostly dry and although it’s the rainy season there has been little rain. The food is SPICY and that is an understatement. It has been challenging for the kids but we have found pediasure (a kids supplemental drink) that we are using to help out. We are mostly eating vegetarian with little protein and on Sunday there is a little chicken served.
There are next to no foreigners in our city so we are quite the spectacle when we go out. People are always staring and wanting to take pictures with our kids or us. It is overwhelming at times but the kids are handling it well.
We have spent our first days here braving the markets to buy traditional Indian clothes, a few necessities that we were unable to bring and cleaning supplies to make our home ours. We have been zooming around in tuk-tuks and have been waiting to get permission to enter the hospital and we are hoping our first day there is this Tuesday. Our leader said the reception at the hospital was very positive compared to years past and they were greeted with smiles from usually non-smiling madams. They were happy to see we were back and we are ready to get in and start training and working and delivering babies!
We have definitely been experiencing culture shock. (aside from Bruce who is used to it from living in a similar situation in Cairo, Egypt) It is chaos… although it seems to get a little better every day. I am hoping when we start working and knowing our area it will get better.
We definitely appreciate prayers as we settle, for favor with who we share with and serve and for safety as we navigate this culture unknown to us and for health for our kids and our team. We are excited to see what God will do with our time here and we are expectant that he will show up in a great way.
Thanks for following this journey with us.. we will update as we are able. Please feel free to email us we would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org you can also leave comments here and we will try to answer as soon as we can. we do have internet access on our iPad and although we have a hard time updating this blog there. we are connected to FB and email on a daily basis. We also have Skype but no Facetime.
|waiting at the Singapore airport|
|Bus to take the train|
|Bruce assisting in the tire change of the bus|
|Auntie Briana had some goldfish sent to her from the states.. The kids devoured the entire bag down to the last crumb!|
|our first tuk-tuk ride!|
|When in doubt drink a Sweet Lassi (yogurt drink)|
|sleeping on the 15 hr train ride|
|my first Tailor|
|some kids we met wanting to practice english|
|India does this to a person.. Zzzzzzz|
|duck on a motorcycle? He was a good sport letting us take a pic|
|Pizza hut! (dont get to excited.. it was Indian spiced pizza)|
|Josiah and I running in a circle with some school girls from the nearby school|
|Noveena (a relationship from a previous year. we visited in her home and she cooked for us)|
|outside her 2 room apartment|
|she taught me how to make chippoti. I didnt do so well.lol|
|tuk-tuks lined up outside the entry to where we stay|
|Bruce in a drama we performed at a local park to tell people about Jesus. 4 people gave their lives to Jesus that day!|