Well we've had an interesting and busy last few days here. Most exciting was going to the national office on Sunday. I don't know if I already blogged about this or not...? My internet is too slow to go back and check, so if you read it twice, sorry. I guess it's just twice as important of a message? Not sure on that one. Anyway, the office. It was about 45 minutes away from our house, and in an area of slums. I mean, the office was only one rectangular room, with no AC and a thatched roof. Looking up, I understood then how a paralytic could be lowered through it. There were probably 4 or 5 fans, though. That kept us cool enough. Well, that's a pretty half glass full way of describing it, but we didn't get close to having a heat stroke, so we were okay. Oh, did I mention there were no chairs? It was Indian style for all 3 hours. Oh, I guess I forgot to mention the 3 hours part too. Also, the men sat on one side, and the women on the other. And the women needed to keep their heads covered, as well. And of course, no praise team. Yeah, right. There wasn't even any English spoken! It was all in native language, and the music was to a jimbae drum and tiny hand cymbals. Man, they had a great beat going. No slow songs for these guys! And their voices were amazing, they filled the building and poured out the windows into the surrounding community. What an impact this office must have on that community! I mean, if only you could have heard the praise coming from this building. There was plenty of money time mixed among the singing, as well as sharing of personal stories. The leader then called on the couple who had brought us there, and they shared a bread story with the people, with the intent that they would learn the story, and tell it to several others. The leader called on volunteers to repeat the story back, while the others corrected as needed. They were so excited; there was never a lack of volunteers. One boy, about 12 or 13, had already told the story to 6 people that weekend! This story telling is a big focus of our company. Then, afterwards, we went to the front to send money to whoever came to ask for it. One woman broke my heart. She was there by herself, because her husband did not want her there. Every week, he caused trouble for her, in hopes that she wouldn't be able to come to the office. And if she ever dared, he beat her when she returned home. I asked my husband later that day, if I knew I would be beat everytime I went to the office, I wonder if I would go?
That night, my husband and I went to meet with his national friend, Raghu, at his house for dinner. Raghu's wife, Yatri*, had made us a complete meal, including sweets. In this country, it is customary to arrive a couple hours before dinner, while it is still be prepared, to socialize with the hosts. And when dinner is over, that is time to leave, almost immediately. Knowing this, we were prepared to head out after the dinner, but we didn't know that the hosts would go through a polite refusal of our leaving. So we hung out a little more, and finally insisted on leaving. We were told later that they always go through that, so as not to appear they are kicking you out! Oh well. Now we know. It felt so weird to just get out after Yatri had fixed us all this food, but that's my American mindset, and I need to remember that it's rude of us to stay!
Their son was so cute. He's 7, and called us Uncle and Auntie, but put the terms after our names. He also asked why my hair was the color it is, to which his father had to explain that people from our part of the world have this color hair. It was so interesting to see this family interact. Today, Raghu sent an email to husband, and in his typical formality, included this:
"at the risk of repeating myself i must say that [wife] and you make a charming couple. [wife] with her grace, ready smile and bright countenance brings sunshine wherever she goes. while you are the solid, steadying anchor willing to reach out to people in order to expand the scope of your influence. "
He writes so fancy!
I know more has happened, but I'm so busy that I can't take time to remember what I should type up. I guess I typed up enough for one night, anyway. Now it's on to language study. It's back to 1st grade for us - we are practicing writing the letters of the alphabet. If only they had handed out some Big Chief, we'd be having ourselves some real fun.