a little song, a little dance, a little……goat.
Our second day in India started off with a visit to the Compassion East India office. I love visits to country offices to meet the staff there: the folks who are on the ground in-country overseeing the work this amazing organization is doing. It’s also exciting to see how all the letters are processed to and from the children and their sponsors, etc. After touring the office and participating in the weekly devotional time with the staff, we set off on our first project visit of the trip. It was a sweet day as one of our travel companions got to meet her sponsor child (read about when I first met my sponsor child, Rukia, here) and Keith and I got to go visit the home of a teenage boy who participates in the project. It always inspires me to hear the stories of these children and the circumstances they face and how they overcome them.
Thursday we headed North to a “rural urban” project only 15 miles south of the Bangladesh border. Many people in the community were refugees from Bangladesh. The trip to the project took about 2 and a half hours in a little convoy of mini-SUVs. Driving in India isn’t quite like driving in the US. In fact, I think you should watch this short clip that my friend Ryan shot before you finish reading my blog….just so you can understand what our trip to and from the project was like. One of the guys in my vehicle started feeling pretty queasy about 10 minutes into the trip, and sure enough, about an our later, threw up his entire breakfast in my plastic zipper toiletry bag. Apparently even the Indian Compassion staff that were traveling with us in other vehicles were popping Dramamine like tic-tacs, so we were all comforted in knowing that even the locals thought the driving was terrible.
The project visit itself was amazing. We were greeted at the road by a drummer and the project’s scout troop and then ushered inside the church to watch a program where children sang and danced and then two of the Compassion LDP students shared their testimonies. The children all wanted to shake our hands and showered us with gifts: vases made of popsicle sticks and glitter, roses, oregami flowers and drawings were plentiful. We in turn decided to teach them songs. “Head, Shoulders Knees and Toes” was a huge hit so we decided to try our hand at “Father Abraham” when we found out that the kids didn’t know the story of Abraham in the Bible. Naturally we filled them in on that narrative and then belted out the Sunday School tune until we were all horse and dizzy.
We split off into three groups after the project visit to visit homes of some of the Compassion students. This little girl lived with her mother. Her father died 7 years ago and her 17 year old sister had gotten married a few months ago because her mother couldn’t afford to provide her with school or basic needs any longer. She said that it was too late for the older daughter now, but that she hoped her younger daughter might be able to finish school and become a teacher (she wanted to teach English) and not have to marry young. She hopes her younger daughter can break the poverty cycle.
Wow. So I’m kind of exhausted thinking back over all that’s happened and I’m going to draw to a close here so I can get some sleep. But I’ll give you another report on today and tomorrow soon with lots more photos, of course. Continue to think about us as we start the last half of our trip. And stay tuned…..
P.S. If you are interested in reading more about our trip from the perspective of some of our travel companions, check out the following blogs of Blaire Wickham and Ryan Childress. So far, they have blogged about the first day of the trip and meeting their sponsor child (Blaire) as well as a project visit (Ryan). Check em out!