When I told my mother I was going to India, she asked if I had seen the movie “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.” I had not, but watched it on the flight to India. In fact, I watched two movies on the flight among other activities because it is a long journey.
I flew from San Francisco to Seoul, Korea on a 12-hour flight; from Seoul to Singapore on a six-hour flight; and from Singapore to Chennai, India in about four hours. There was a 10-hour layover at the Singapore airport. I left California at 3 p.m.Thursday, July 5, and arrived in India at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 7 (Please remember India is about 11.5 hours ahead.)
A character in the movie about seven British senior citizens moving to the Marigold Hotel, mentioned drivers honked their horns a lot in India. True, and it is one of the first things you notice.
However, it is a language that orchestrates the seamless flow of traffic where autos, motorcycles, trucks, vans, busses and toot toot cars maneuver lanes void of accidents, although to those who do not understand the language it seems ever-so similar to a demolition derby.
Horns could be heard throughout the night at the YMCA where the mission team stayed while in Chennai. I used earplugs to soften the noise, but with a population of 6.4 million it is not surprising the city never sleeps.
Although India is one-third the size of the United States, it has the world’s second largest population, but my uncle told me before I left that it was on the verge of passing China in population, the country that holds the record.
One morning we got up early to see the sun rise on the Indian Ocean, since Chennai is a seaport. Even in the early morning hours the beach was not deserted.
Many Indians were power walking along the asphalt parking lot. What was striking is they did not wear special clothes but regular street outfits with the women dressed in a sari and flip flops or sometimes athletic shoes.
Nearby there was a park designed for exercise with a group doing yoga and a few walking along a trail around the perimeter.
While cultures differ, people are always so similar. Because I was working with an organization called Fifty5five Inc., which provides instruction on how to set up a good children’s ministry and outreach, I interacted with children in many areas.
I find them to be the same no matter the setting. There are the chatty best friends that cannot stop talking, the little boys who have to poke and prod the person next to them, and all want to know that they have immense value.
This was the case at Steps Children’s Home run by Isaac and Tara Manogaram, a couple who rescues abandoned and abused little girls; at the Ullalu ministry center run by Karnataka Evangelistic Association (KEA) in Bangalore where Fifty5five conducted a two-day Vacation Bible School; and at Hosamane where the children came to the church to learn about Jesus.
A visit to a foreign land is always about interactions with people whether the trip is a vacation or mission work. That is not surprising, because God created us for fellowship with Him and other people. Perhaps that is why my favorite photos are portraits of the people I met.
|< Prev||Next >|