Monday, November 26, 2012

Last days, Turkey and Golconda Fort

This week has felt extremely long, however being on the other side of it seems like it flew and I cant believe we have been here for 9 weeks and are leaving tomorrow late afternoon on a train south.  We just started packing today and hopefully it wont take too long into the night. The train ride will take us 14 hrs south for our last destination in India. We would appreciate your prayers as we pack up and take our luggage and children on this journey.  We know a little what to expect as we took this exact train when we got into India, but once again this is India and as we've learned anything could happen. :) We also are getting off about 20k from our destination and have to navigate as a team how we will get the rest of the way. Renting a bus is one of the options. So we could use some prayers for travel mercies as well. We also are unsure of our internet situation so if you we don't post in the next 2 weeks you know why. We are hoping to update at least once a week as usual, but we will have to see.

We had our last week in MGMH (Modern Gov. Maternity Hosp.) Its strange. Even though the week is over part of me mentally cant believe that we wont go back there. Its definitely bittersweet.  I am thankful for my time there and thankful for all the things Ive learned. Feeling really blessed by the fact that we get the opportunities that few get.

before I move on to this weeks photos I wanted to post a pic of Chunky Charlie. He is the baby that was delivered in the septic ward last week.

On Monday Baby Amira was born.  I had 2 beautiful baby girls born this week that were not received well by their mothers. 
Amira means princess in Arabic

Baby Sarah born on Thurs

There is a cultural evil here that boys are the prized possession.  Not that boys are truly thought so much better across the board, but with the lower cast girls are a burden.  Families are forced to pay large dowries to arrange a marriage for their girls. It is actually illegal to have this practice but it is still followed. The parents of the girl are also expected to pay for an extravagant wedding.  Most lower cast families do not have the kind of money it takes to pay for their daughter to have a decent husband. So, they become a burden to the family. The birth of a girl means a birth of a burden. That's the simple version of a very complicated dynamic. Cast and status and skin color also play a roll.  I've heard stories that break your heart and the long and short of it is in general in the lower cast women are not treated or cherished the way God intended. Something that I have seen to be problematic from this is we were all created in God's image. Both male and female and males carry certain characteristics of God and women carry others.  Together they both make up his full and complete image. God a lot of the time uses people to reveal himself. When you live in a culture that completely cuts out the value of the female they are not seeing the half of Gods image that is loving, nurturing and beauty. Unless women can be valued for the characteristics they offer than God's image will not be able to be fully revealed to them.
more babies!

one of the nursing assistants that we work with a lot.. so sweet!



one of our leaders Laura.

last day Bruce and the kids came to pick me up
We also spent time while here interviewing women and the hospital and asking questions relating to diet, wages, pregnancy education as well as other questions to help better understand how Hyderabad can be served.  In our hospital alone over 1500 babies are delivered a month.  That is just our hospital!! Anemia and pre-eclampsia are the top reasons why women die in pregnancy. It just blows my mind that in a city that has plenty of nutrition that women die from ANEMIA!! Eating a balanced diet and taking iron supplements that are supplied by the government can stop this.  Overall the greatest need is education for women.

This Friday we went out to dinner with a couple who work in the clinic where Bruce has helped and our team has done healthcare teachings.  Crazy small world. This couple are sent missionaries from a church in Oak Park, IL where we lived and they know our neighbors and old babysitter!

(Bruce) Our last field trip here. :(  But I think we saved the best for last with Golconda Fort! Before this was a city (late 1500's) the kings and queens held their residence in this castle-like fort that included 1,000 common residents. The place was huge with lots and lots of climbing and stairs and sometimes I had to carry Abigail as well as Josiah. I also hired a very good guide named Ali to tell us all about the fort. He was nice and very knowledgeable but didn't smile much. Anyway, the kids loved it and as a bonus we went nearby to the kings' tombs and explored around there. Some very impressive mausoleums but they were obviously past their prime and falling apart. Still, a good last adventure!

Golconda Fort

tomb of the kings

Josiah declaring "I am a king!!"
On Thursday, Thanksgiving, we were invited to attend a thanksgiving meal of a American pastor and his wife. We have attended their church a couple of weekends here and they were so kind to have invited us. We didn't really know what to expect because after all.. This is India.. Where everything is "no problem".  One of my favorite "Only in India" stories was this week when we were at the general store. A classmate of mine wanted to send home this Indian snack as a joke to her friends. She thought it would be funny if she sent them something didn't tell them it was spicy and then they ate it.  So she asked the store clerk, "sir is this snack spicy?" After taking a look at her he said, "No Madam, not so spicy." My classmate said, "Oh well, I was looking for something very spicy!". The store clerk responded, "Oh in that case Madam it is very very spicy!" I was laughing so hard. It is very much like that. Everything here is always "Ok. Ok.". A chicken can be a duck if you want it to be here. If it makes you happy. So when we were told we were having Turkey, something that we have NEVER  seen in a store or on an menu here, we were somewhat skeptical. However, there was not only imported turkey at this party but imported ham and every kind of cheese you can imagine! What a feast. We shamelessly hung around the food tables a little too long. 
Thanksgiving feast we were blessed to attend

Abigail's favorite part of Thanksgiving.. American kids!!
We were introduced to an American missionary couple that lives here with their 4 children. We were invited to spend the night at their house and we did. It was so much fun! It was a refreshing time of hanging out, eating amazing food and way too much Appy Fizz. The kids all had such a blast playing with each other and Abbs was in heaven being able to have a sleep over and share a bed with her new friend. Both girls sobbed when we had to leave. It was such a blessing and we only wished we had met them weeks sooner!! (Bruce and Brad (the hubby) actually went to a men's retreat at the western church on Saturday while the girls hung out.)

kids hanging out (minus one of them)
Jen ... so much fun!

the group that slept over minus Brad and Bruce

Their oldest daughter.. Abigail's new buddy

kids showing off their socks that Grandma and Grandpa Wilkens sent in a care package

My classmates have been obsessed with the Indian mustaches. They even started an album of the best of the best ones they have seen here. It has rubbed off on the kids. Abbs asked me to draw a crab one day and Josiah promptly drew a mustache on it. He then looked at me and said "Ew Mom. That's a yucky mustache". I couldn't agree more. It made it into the album.
the crab with the yucky mustache

an awesome time out chair.. we want one!

yes our taxi driver is pushing another driver with his foot because he stalled. he pushed him while taking us to the hospital one day
a couple of fun photos from a few weeks ago at film city.

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