|Poised and Pretty|
|The Doctor's Daughter|
|Sunset in Bagaigaon|
|Houseparents and Teacher|
|James Connection School|
|Duck Duck Goose|
We left the hotel early this morning due to the 12 hour strike imposed on all of India. Dimbeswar wanted to be sure we were out in Manikpur away from any issues that might have arisen here in the city today. The city was unusually quiet as we rolled out. The sun was peeking above the tree tops, and the birds were singing louder than any other noises. No train horns sounding an approach. No large trucks beeping around the next turn. Very few carts clacking their way over the cobblestones. The bicycles outnumbered all other vehicles combined, and their numbers were eerily low. We were uncertain what awaited us as we approached the day.
Nitu and Michael made much better time than Dimbeswar had expected. When he called Mama at 2:00 this morning to ask him to escort the mother and child back to Nepal, he thought he had a few hours to catch a short nap before we arrived at his home! He was surprised when Michael awoke him announcing our arrival, but quickly set everything in motion there to prepare breakfast for us. We had time to roam around the grounds making a final documentation of all of the buildings, construction, flora and fauna to share with Brother GARYTATE when we return home. We documented a tree we had never seen before. From a distance it looked like a kapok tree with large kapoks hanging from its bare branches, but looking with a more discerning eye, we realized those kapok were squirming and twitching in their sleep. Our best guess is that it is a bat tree, for over a thousand bats hung with closed eyes waiting for the strike to end so their mosquito hunts can begin again! Other trees were more concealing of their daily guests for their branches are not completely bare of leaves as this one is.
All shops, government buildings, commerce and transportation were shut down from 5:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Private schools were free to make their own decision about operation, but Dimbeswar knew the attendance of his teachers and students would be sparse, so he chose to cancel school. Michael and Nitu stood outside the gates to send students and parents home as they approached on bicycle, foot and “bike”.
At 9:00 we were taken over to James Connection School where a church member is principal. Unfortunately, his father had taken a turn for the worse during the night and he was unable to be there today. Three of his teachers had visited worship service Sunday and invited us to their school, so we were well received and entertained. Unfortunately, only 9 of their 26 students were in attendance today. We entertained them with our four standard songs and the Hokey Pokey. Then the children each recited a nursery rhyme in English for us. Two of the little girls showed us part of a dance they had learned, a teacher sang a worship song he knew and the children recited the Lord’s Prayer. We had a prayer with them before returning to Dimbeswar’s home at the Little Flower School.
Lunch was served us as royally as it has been served each day this week. We had fried chicken, rice, “potatolets”, and fried plantains.
Mamu and Maram visited with us a few minutes. We took pictures of her with her book bag and then had a prayer for little Maram.
Dimbeswar and Michael took us over to Ruth Gunter Home to spend the afternoon with the precious children there. We had fun reviewing the songs and teaching them some new games. Dimbeswar made sure the teachers joined us so that these games and songs will be part of their weekly routine in the future. They enjoyed the Holey Pokey completely as most are familiar with English terms for the basic body parts. It was fun today to change up the fun games by injecting various vocal intonations. Then we had a fun time playing London Bridge…Jonnie and I opted to be the bridge!) Duck, Duck, Goose became a quick favorite. We chose to introduce the more gentle version where you simply race to the location--no tagging needed. To calm down the group in preparation for our departure and their evening routines, we changed up an old childhood favorite, “Doggie, Doggie, Where’s Your Bone?” to fit the culture…”Hen, Hen, Where’s your Egg?” A smooth egg-shaped stone from the construction pile served well as an egg.
As the children caught on quickly to this game, Dimbeswar helped us interview the newest of the RGH children. Then Michael served as photographer while Jonnie and I called each child for a picture with us.
A final prayer with our precious Ruth Gunter family closed our time together. As Jonnie and I began to shake each child’s hand and voice our blessings to them individually, the children followed suit and the circle became a snake with children shaking and blessing children all around the group! What a special bond God has built! Never will these lives be the same.
We approached Bangaigaon as we witnessed the sun fall behind its trees for the last time this trip. We are amazed at the dexterity of these people as they maneuver the roads home in the evening whether it be young boys pulling carts loaded with bamboo six times their height or women perched daintily side-saddle on the back of a bicycle holding a young sleeping child! Something tells me our ties will bring us back again one day to see the young children mature.
We enjoyed tea in the home of two former Little Flower teachers before returning to the Shivaly Hotel for dinner and an evening of packing and weighing bags for our early morning departure to Guwahati Wednesday morning.
As you eat dinner in Texas this evening, think about us arising, Dimbeswar, Mamu, Maram and Michael arriving with Nitu to collect us from the hotel and us all traveling down the NE Indian roads to Guwahati. You will be snuggled deep in sleep by the time we reach the city. Our flight to Delhi will take place while you dream. Then as you arrive at work Wednesday morning, we will arrive in Delhi and check into a hotel for a cozy night’s sleep!
Thursday morning we will begin another adventure seeing a different side of India as Jonnie and I will vacation in central India. Join us then for a tour of this beautiful and diverse land God has made!