Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Wednesday we planned to use as a day of rest and reflexion. Mark is still under the weather.  He joined us at the breakfast table for toast and juice, but is planning another day of rest and recuperation.

The sun is already in full force by 7:30.  Without the rains of the monsoons, the heat is intense.  Even in my air conditioned hotel room, my laundry dries before I can return from a meal in the restaurant!  In Manikpur where the monsoons have only just  begun, clothes washed on Wednesday afternoon were packed wet Saturday morning for the train ride to Bagdogra!

Ray and I headed over to the school here in Bagdogra run by Naris, one of Ray's contacts.  They had planned for us to have a short visit at the school and lunch in their home.  The school houses grades nursery through class three.  In each of these schools the lower grades are larger as the school is gaining prestige in the neighborhood.  English medium school is an option these areas have not had before, so there were very few brave parents who took the chance five years ago to trust their children's education to a startup school.  This school has only six in grade three, but twenty nine in nursery!  The eight teachers rotate through the classes teaching various subject matter during the day.  While most classes are taught in English, the children also learn to read and write in Hindi (national language) and Bengali (state language)!  As we entered each class, the children rise and salute us with, "Good morning, Sir.  Good morning, Miss."  They only sit again when directed to do so.  We made our way to each classroom, shaking each hand with personal greetings.  Precious children and loving teachers!
This is a page from the copy book of a five year old child learning to read and write in four languages with four different scripts!

We visited in the home of Naris and Shamila and toured the chicken farm under construction.  When the children were dismissed early due to the intense heat (A child died from the heat in the southern part of the state this week.), we took the opportunity to visit with the teachers for a few minutes.  In India, it is not necessary to have formal training to become a teacher.  Teachers teach as they were taught.  They are eager to learn from anyone who is willing to share.

Lunch was delicious!  Rice, dahl, vegetables, chicken, cucumbers and carrots and warmed chips were followed by Sophna's signature dish...noodles, cashews and toasted coconut in sweet milk!  A small lunch by nobody's standards!

On the way back to the hotel, we dropped in on Joseph to learn of his current endeavors beginning a children's home called David's House.  He had a delightful family and a fairy tale love story that has produced precious little Jasmine currently in UKG.

Still no internet connections at the hotel! Still no peep from room 306!

This evening Ray and I walked to the home of Naris' in-laws.  Shamila and Naris met us there along with other church/family members.  We had a blessed time sharing with them.  Nine year old Grace sang a solo in English and shared right along with the adults in Bible discussions!  It was a day of refreshing joy and fellowship.

We returned for a light meal before bed and actually found the wifi had returned!

Tomorrow morning we expect a hotel visit from Mahendra and from Naris before we leave for the airport at 11:30 (1:00am in Texas!).  The journey home will be long and arduous.  We will arrive in Midland at 6:30 Friday night!


Today's agenda was designed to introduce Mark to the village where Mahendra and his family live and work.  I especially wanted Mark to meet some of the people Jonnie and I met last September.  However, Mark partook of forbidden fruit last night...perhaps the mango juice at the cottage meeting.  He awoke feeling less than his best and decided that an hour's journey away from the hotel was not in his best interest!  He stayed behind to "sleep it off" as he termed it.

Ray and I headed on out to the Morning Star English Medium School to rendezvous with Mahendra.  He had made copies of various documents as well as proposed plans for the rest of the year.  After a brief meeting in his office, we boarded the taxi once again and drove a very short distance to the tea nursery.  This young man began his nursery enterprise as a youth.  For him it was just a hobby...making things grow and propagating new plants from older ones.  He had seen many movies with gorgeous gardens and dreamed of recreating those in his own areas. School students and teachers knew about his success with horticulture, so they often would come to him for plants to use in their school projects.  It wasn't long before others came to him and his hobby developed into a very profitable business!  He welcomes guests under the umbrella of a beetle juice tree near the entrance to his home.  
Beautiful exotic plants are being grown in small black plastic sacks around his garden.  Even the gated area around the mobile phone tower is enhanced by hyacinth, bananas, bougainvillea and other flowering plants.  The ponytail tree in the center of his show garden towers over three meters high!  

Mango and lychee fruits are still a couple months from maturity.

His most amazing endeavor is the acres and acres of tea plants he has propagated and sells to local tea gardens to replace their aging plants or to local enterprising young men who want to begin their own tea gardens.  From the precise cutting of each leaf to its placement in rich soil bags...mud dams and well water pumped into the bamboo thatched greenhouse...weeding and protecting...the leaf matures to a profitable plant!  When an order comes in,he is ready!  
Recently he has branched out into seeding various trees and his workforce has multiplied!  

His taxi service is another hobby he enjoys.  Mahendra has called on him in emergencies with the girls' health or to ferry guests such as Jyoti's sister or "Sisters" Jonnie and Pam to and from airports, schools and train stations.

Fifteen years and dedication to both of his "hobbies" has provided his family: wife, son, daughter, mother and father with a very nice living.  The income from the cell tower augments his salary as well.

We enjoyed lemonade and a tasty treat similar to our hush puppies made from beans, peppers, etc. All grown on their land!  Even the milk in the tea was from their cow!  They are self sufficient indeed!

From the nursery, we headed over to the house where Jyoti had prepared lunch for us.  We enjoyed the banana buds Mahendra had shown us yesterday all stir fried and seasoned.  Dolma (Elizabeth) had picked lady fingers and they had fried them as well.  We were honored with slices from a large cucumber Amit had brought back from Darjeeling recently.  The rice base enhanced by Dahl and a potato dish completed the meal.

Later we drove out to see the children's home some of the Morning Star teachers had told Ray is being run by an American lady named Alex.  When we got there, she was not in town, so we were not granted entrance.  She is from Minnesota and has a huge gated compound.  The walls are high and topped with glass and nails, so we could only see the top of the two story home that houses the children.  We walked around to the three roomed school from which we could see the church building and guest house in the opposite direction.

We returned to the house for a "last tea" and to get a family picture.  Jyoti had prepared a rice and coconut pudding instead of tea!  It was a delicious treat as we waited for the girls to return from school.  

After a last picture, we headed back to the hotel.  The rains have not come to this area of West Bengal yet, so the clouds hanging over us seem to envelop us in a blanket of heat.  A refreshing afternoon shower and the refuge of an air conditioned room welcome us at the end of the ride.

Mark is still sleeping it off...

Sunday, May 11, 2014


Mahendra has been the headmaster of Morning Star English Medium School since 2009.  He took over a Hindi Medium School inheriting the students already enrolled. As of the end of last year, those children have aged out of his school.  Now the 105 students in grades nursery, lower KG, upper KG, 1, 2 and 3 are all studying all the time in English!

The physical plant has changed somewhat since my last visit in September.  The children now have a playground complete with swings and seesaw.  The primary building has a wide sidewalk and flower beds.  And the upper school building has two new classrooms with plans for a second and third layer to house up to class ten!
Monday morning we visited the school...enjoying time in the yard for the welcome and children's songs, in the classrooms watching the teachers with the children and in the office with Mahendra.  
It's so impressive watching four year olds gaining command of the English alphabet, five year old Nepalese children reciting the times tables up to five times ten in English, and seven year olds in virtual computer class learning the parts and functions of each.  

The nursery students break for lunch at 10:15 and leave for the day at 12:15 while the rest of the children have their lunch.  Kindergarten through class three stay until 2:15.

Jyoti fixed Chinese food for our lunch at the house.  It was a delightful change from rice for three North Americans!

This afternoon we went in three directions.  I stayed at the house with Jyoti and the girls.  We had a precious afternoon with the story of Esther complete with tiaras! 

Ray taught the English students with an Indian version of the Good Samaritan.  Mark and Mahendra had time to discuss details, plans and dreams!

This evening we had a cottage meeting in the home of members...the home where Mahendra and Jyoti boarded in 2009 when they moved to Hatiduba Busty.  Ray brought a fine lesson on seeing God.

Then they honored us with a meal on their back porch!  What a blessing!  How delightful the day!


Sunday morning came early!  (Every day comes early when the sun rises at 4:30!) we had breakfast while the taxi driver waited to take us out to the village of Hatiduba Busty to meet Mahendra.  He was ready to load up with us and head out to the Sunday School location for us to experience one of three simultaneous English Sunday Schools he runs before church each week.  Grace went with us, but the other two girls were already at the local class.  About twenty five children met us in the yard of one of Morning Star School's students.  Six other children were also students from the school.  The children were excited to sing for us and were very attentive as each visitor presented a lesson.  They had pencil and composition books to copy down whatever we dictated to them.

The owner of the house is suffering from partial paralysis of his arm and leg and pain.  Mark anointed him with oil and prayer.

When we got back to the house, Jyoti, Tabitha and Glory had already left for church.  All were seated and set for service when we arrived.  Their worship is much like our service, except it is conducted all in Nepalese.  Everyone was involved in the worship including round robin readings from both the Old Testament and the New.  Even Grace had a part in collecting the offering!  I really liked the new communion cup tray Mahendra had designed.  Mark did an excellent job with his sermon!

Lunch at the house was quite a surprise!  This is a totally vegan family, but Mahendra heard Mark say he liked to eat beef.  So he had gone to a special market and got beef in a country that holds the cow as sacred to make a meal for his honored guest!

I enjoyed a few minutes with each of the girls and ladies of the house to share a few treats I had for them while the men visited in the living room.

Then it was off to Morning Star School for a tour before the young people came for classes.  Two new classes, a sidewalk, flower gardens, teacher toilet and shower, a new well and a playground have been added since September!

The land adjacent to the school has been purchased and cornerposts are in placed designating its size and shape.  It will eventually be the location for the new church building and preachers/Bible school.

Mark was blown away with Mahendra's record keeping and the meticulous handiwork of the school!

We had about eighteen students for English classes ranging in age from 14-24.  Ray discussed Indian Geography and his own family history.  Mark covered US geography.  I visited about careers and travel.  Long and hot are the descriptors for today, but what a blessing!


This morning we packed and had a huge breakfast (It was delivered course by course...veggie burgers, fried eggs, fried bread, fruit, juice...)before loading up for the ride into Bongagaon to the train station.  The children circled up for one last goodbye song and another round of handshakes and hugs. Nalini and I have had a chance to bond this year over tea and projects with the kids.  She has seemed to enjoy the times she dropped by to visit in my room.

Lugging our luggage up the train station over bridge is always such a hoot!  Most tourists do not travel as heavy laden as we do!  What is it with us?  The weight of all my gifts for the Burman girls, Ruth Gunter staff and children should have helped make this trek easier, but between Manu, Nalini and Saphna giving me outfits and the various honor towels we have received, my weight is back up to the same level!  I have to get the suitcase down to 15 KG for the flight from Bagdogra to Delhi!

We waited at the top of the landing until they announced the track our train would be using.  Then we hurried back down the correct staircase and wandered along the track trying to guess where car "B4" would stop.  When the train finally came to a stop, we were about six cars away, so we made the wild dash.  Dimbeswar helped us get on board and situated between others already occupying our area.  With our suitcases all stashed, they said their goodbyes and headed back to the village.

We swayed back and forth along the tracks for four hours.  Mark read from his Kindle. Ray visited and dozed.  I cleaned up email and photos from iPad and iPhone while listening to my music.  We were served yet another breakfast with tea, later juice and still later a tiny tomato soup.  Then the young man came by to collect his tips.  He didn't seem to mind how much or how little, but he wouldn't leave without a bill from each passenger!

Getting off the train was more fun than getting on---Not!  We maneuvered luggage out of the racks...but then there was the bottleneck at the door with everyone pushing to get on!  Someone took my suitcase (45#) and threw it off the train into somebody's waiting arms.  By the time I maneuvered my two carry ons in that direction, it was down the way.  I got hold of it and simultaneously sighted Mahendra coming by me.  He pushed on through to help Mark...who didn't want to let him take his bag!  We had two men to carry our large bags on top of their heads...upstairs and down without missing a beat!  The bags had to be strapped to the top of the vehicle in order to accommodate all of us inside!

Our hotel was such a welcome oasis!  Mahendra had printed schedules to give us and discuss before he headed out to shop and home.  We ate a bite and caught up with technology and ate again before drifting off to sleep.


Sunrise with the girls is a muffle of joy!  As much as I would have loved to have snuggled down into my B Bag for another hour, but their joy called to me.  They were enjoying the treats from their gift bags which delighted me to see.

After breakfast we had an opportunity to sit down with Dimbeswar to discuss his works and future hopes and plans.  It was most informative to learn of all of the arms of his programs.

School was not in session today, but some of the students came for English classes with the American guests.  We each had a classroom filled with children for a little over an hour.

Raghav came and got me from class for the next program.  WBS students from Guwahati and Manikpur who had completed their first lesson in Assamese came for a presentation of their certificates.  Raghav led a song before announcing that I would speak to the group!  It is always a new story here.  We had about a dozen students and several guests present.

We visited Ruth Gunter Children's Home and saw the new rooms that have been built for the expansion of the Nazaret English Medium School.  We enjoyed the visit with Mitu and Shinu and Sopna.

Saphna had made me a typical Assamese skirt and was excited to see me wear it!

There's always a rush for the computer while the electricity is available.  

Back for a late lunch served in the upper room before our meeting with Raghav, Jayanta and Zeenat, Mama Patgiri, Jaganath, Pratep, Dimbeswar and others.  Each gave a testimony and made a request for support.

We had a little free time to repack before dinner.
Devo was delightful!  Several children had memorized parables and other memory verses in English. They are using the Bibles we brought in 2012!  The songs included both Assamese and English praise songs...LORD, I LIFT YOUR NAME ON HIGH; BRINGING IN THE SHEAVES; and others.  Then the children dramatized three stories in English...Zachaeus, the Good Samaritan and the Ten Bridesmaids!

As they sang the parting song shaking hands all around the circle, I slipped bubblegum into their palms!

Saturday, May 10, 2014



The morning begins early here as the sun rises around 4:30!  With the sun, the girls jump up from their mats and quietly slip down the stairs to freshen up for the day.  Also with the rising of the sun came the end of the electricity!  I did some laundry trying to delay washing my hair until the hot water was available, but no luck with that today!

Soon the girls have received tasks and are busy outside my door with medals in gold, silver and bronze and rolls of ribbons in blue, red and green.  Tea is delivered to my room, and I choose to join the girls while I drink my tea.  Soon the medals are hanging from the window bars in a variety of combinations of colors until supervision arrives and the ribbons and medals are rearranged to represent first, second and third places for sports day activities.  Nelini and I remove and replace ribbons along with the girls.

When breakfast is served, Philip comes with an umbrella to escort me back to the house through the rain!  Oh, how we wish this rain could fall in the Permian Basin...long, hard, steady rain!  Our breakfast is extended by the rain.  Travel to the school is difficult with so much precipitation, so the morning festivities are postponed for another hour.  As I noticed a lull in the rain, I headed back to the Gary Tate Building just in time to find the program opening with prayer in the first floor gathering space.

Each grade level came to the front of the room to sing a song and Nelini and several of the Ruth Gunter children sang songs as well.  Then Dimbeswar dedicated the building and the program today to Gary Tate.  He gave a short biography of Gary and his work in India before announcing the two recipients of the first Gary Tate Scholarships.  A young man and a young lady from last year's graduating class who had received the highest scores on the state exams were honored with cash rewards. Ajoy Das will follow a Science stream and Kasturi Ray will pursue an arts stream as they enter a nearby college this year.  Mark and I were allowed the privilege of handing the awards to these young people and speaking words of encouragement to them and the students.  Two young people had asked to speak to the assembly about the influence Gary had on their lives.  They had both read the book, HEALING HANDS, given to Little Flower School by Gary.  The young girl told how she had been addicted to technology...the boy to TV...and how reading of the determination of this young man to become the world's leading neurosurgeon had helped him to focus on more important things in life turned her heart to other things.

The next three hours were spent presenting medals for track and field day.  Lunch was served...ours at the house and others in the assembly hall.  Then the track and field day medals for the RGCH were awarded.  When everyone else left, I had a little time with the children for pictures, bags and songs before those living in Sokohili had to leave.  I got hugs and gave blessings and prayers as they headed out the door.

After a brief time of solitude (and watching the electricity come and go), I decided to take advantage of the time by checking emails on Dimbeswar's computer.

Mark and I visited.  I visited the kitchen as dinner preparations were under way.  It was fun to visit with Dimbeswar and Pratav while I peeled garlic gloves...actually contributing to dinner!  As we watched, the boys retreated behind the partition in their dorm room to practice memory verses.  What a delight to hear their sweet voices chopping through English!

After dinner we returned to the K1 room for devotionals.  Scripture recitation, prayers, the story of David and Goliath told by Mama Patgiri, songs led by Nalini and by Raghav Ray and delightful dramas of Bible stories by the children!  They enacted Zachaeus, the Good Samaritan and the Ten Virgins...complete with candles large and small!  Their English was well enunciated and the actions helped us to recognize the stories.  Nalini is doing an amazing job in working with them in large and small groups.

Each child with a part in a drama spent the night here on the LFS campus.  You would imagine that eleven little girls ages 7-13 would giggle and whisper through the night.  These girls know that 4:30 sunrise means 4:30 girls up!  Snuggled in their pallet bed when I climbed the stairs, they all sat up to tell me goodnight.  A couple snaps of the iPad and they were down for the night.  When I returned from brushing my teeth, sweet sounds of slumber filled the vestibule.

I, on the other hand, had a very full day of blessings to contemplate before slumber reached my bed!


Awaking early, we had finished breakfast when Dimbeswar arrived with the car.  Bags were soon loaded into the vehicle and we started out across town for a "quick" visit and tea with Mamu and her girls at her parents' home.  Mamu is living here now to be closer to Maram's doctors and to be able to attend classes in Montessori teaching methods.  She hopes to be able to teach Maram using this style of learning.  So this was our opportunity for hugs and exchanges.

Her parents' home is a lovely three story house with carport for vehicles within the gated area.  She and the girls have a large room with western style bath.  They are surrounded by grandparents, aunts and cousins at all times.  Mamu had two outfits for me and demonstrated the techniques to dressing Assamese style!

It took us an extra hour to maneuver back across town and over the bridge to the point Dimbeswar said we could begin timing the three hour journey.  Mark was blessed with the front seat to experience the thrill of traveling the Indian highways!  And a thrill he found it to be!  Dimbeswar's driver is adept at winding in and out weaving through transportation of all ilks...large tour buses with passengers perched atop, trucks hauling everything from gravel or sand to onions and potatoes (often with an extra passenger lounging on the bags and dangling his feet over the tailgate), tuktuks, bicycles, motorbikes, wooden carts pulled by a strap across a man's forehead, cars and jeeps.  He dodged families and little children on their way to school, goats and cows wandering freely and barrels set out as traffic control.  He slowed to almost a stop at each speed bump along the freeway and sped through the villages.  Once we reached the divided highway, Mark and I thought we had it made.  Two lanes traveling in each direction with a wide grassy expanse in between.  We sailed up to 120 KPH around the slower vehicles, but caution always prevailed!  The locals had no overpass or cross streets to use, so the left lane used for passing was also used for carts, trucks, bicycles and others needing to head in the other direction...from 120 to 0 in less than ten seconds!

We arrived at Little Flower School as the classes were dismissing.  The LFS bicycle buses were at the front gate awaiting their passengers.  The classes were winding down as we were escorted into the Burman home.  Mark and Ray will stay in the two rooms in Dimbeswar's home.  My luggage was delivered to the guest room while we three ate lunch at Dimbeswar's table.  After lunch we toured the campus before the rain returned.  

It was so good to see that the second floor of the Gary Tate Building has been finished out enough to be used for housing of several of the Ruth Gunter children. Eight of the girls, ages 9-12, make a pallet in the area once designated to be the guesthouse kitchen.  Their belongings are kept in the outer room next to their sleeping quarters. The large dorm room sleeps some of the teachers and a few of the older boys.  Twelve of the twenty six boys are housed here on the Little Flower campus sleeping on the floor of the office, the dining area and this new dorm room.  The second floor toilet project did not work out as planned, so those areas are used more for storage.  The front office has become Ragav Ray's office for WBS Assamese.  The smaller of the two bedrooms in the guest suite has become the home of Nelini and Jagantha and little Gabriel.

The plans for the third floor have been canceled and work on the first floor has come to a halt for now. The floor has been filled in with sand to be used as a general assembly room. 

We visited in Raghav's office for a while as the songs of the children echoed across the grounds and then took some time to reorganize our bags.  The children gathered in the space outside my bedroom to visit.  As I distributed their gift bags, they spread the word to others.  Soon the boys were rolling cars and the girls bending rabbits -all comparing pencils and hopping frogs!  Giggles and grins abound as they attempt to understand the Texas drawl and respond with their English learned from teachers with Indian/British language training.

Meals are served for us in Mark's temporary quarters.  After dinner, we attended devotions with the children in the K2 classroom.

Today the rains have soaked the earth for hours on end.  Our goal to visit before the monsoon season was not realized.  It seems we either have electricity or rain, but few are the hours with both!

Good night, John Boy.  Good night, Manikpur!

Monday, May 5, 2014


This morning is a quiet morning by Indian standards.  From my hotel room this morning, I can hear an occasional horn honking...the world is moving early to avoid today's proposed/threatened strike on the streets of Guwahatti.  

We had heard of this impending strike and knew it would keep us from visiting Dipak's home, so Ray had rearranged our schedule to see him yesterday afternoon.  Though the red dirt was wet and slippery as we climbed the steep slope, we managed to keep our footing and collect as much on the bottom of the shoes as needed to create platform sandals!  I was a good inch to two inches taller when I got back to the hotel!

So today is a slow day with time to collaborate and imagine what the future of NE Indian missions and GCR missions committee might be.  It gives us time to walk the streets of Guwahatti and pray for the people here to learn of the love of Christ.

As I wait in the lobby of the Naskata Hotel for the guys to come down for breakfast, two of Gary Tate's Guwahatti contacts dropped by to visit and invite us to come visit at Jayanta's computer center later today.  According to these gentlemen the strike is not scheduled for this area, but several cities aistance from here.  They honored us with towels personalized with our names in Assamese and English and gifted me a book documenting his Christian walk and service and a nice calendar.

Pulak Barman, Pam, Jayanta Barman 

This morning we hired a driver for the day.  He took us for a ride through the city of Guwahati to a souvenir area where we visited several shops.  We enjoyed seeing the beautiful handiworks typical of this area of India. We stopped by a Christian book store where I purchased a bible in Assamese and a few children's Bible stories to give away.  We dropped by the Baptist compound where Ray and Helen lived for a period of time.  There we decided to have lunch before moving on.  It was delicious ... vegetables, dal and rice.  

We had a quick stop by the hotel before driving out to visit with Jayanta and Zeenat Barman in their printing shop.  It was a delightful visit with the family, three of his computer students, Mama Giri who is living with him, Pulak and Michael.  In his shop he makes Xerox copies, serves as the local photographer with a variety of backdrops, does silk screen printing, teaches computer skills, distributes WBS lessons in Assamese and shares the gospel with his customers day by day.  Zeenat is the assistant director of an English Medium school near their home, and Eve is their adorable three-year-old daughter.

Zeenat, Eve and Ray

Across the street we visited David and his wife in a renewed clothing store.  David is also a Christian living his faith day by day on the street.  We purchased Assamese tea they were selling as a fund raiser for a primary school.  I also purchased a head strap woven by his father-in-law used to carry heavy loads on an individual's back and, of course, a couple baskets!  David had Hindi New Testaments from the Gideons that he gives to each of his patrons.  He gave one to me!

Then we all loaded up and went to visit Danjit and his lovely family in their home.  Michael climbed in the car with us while Jayanta, Zeenat and Eve jumped on their motorbike and ran ahead of us to wake up Danjit.  Danjit later remarked that we had appeared in his home like a thief in the night.  He was totally unprepared for our visit.  David also climbed on his motorbike and met us in the home of his pastor.  We enjoyed an afternoon snack of boiled eggs, bananas, tea biscuits and chai. His family is delightful, very friendly and most hospitable.  Their four year old daughter, Patricia, in in nursery school.  His wife's fifteen year old sister lives with them and is studying in class nine.  Danjit is a math teacher and a preacher.  His chapel houses a church of 9-15 congregants and is located in his front yard.  Ray was able Sunday to worship on the mountain top with Dipak in the morning and in the afternoon with Danjit and his church.  Jayanta took notes during Ray's lesson then translated them into Assamese and has already been distributing them from his shop.
Biswajit, his sister-in-law, daughter and wife
On the way back to the hotel, we dropped by a grocery store looking for spices.

Ray had a visit at the hotel from a Christian brother who is an officer in a bank here in Guwahatti.  We enjoyed meeting him in the lobby for a while before dinner. 

 During dinner, Mother and I played Words with Friends...internationally!  Then just as we finished dinner, Dimbeswar and Michael stopped by the hotel for a brief visit to arrange travel plans for tomorrow morning.

We have had a busy day and look forward to a good night's sleep!


Today we had a leisure morning in the Taurus Hotel enjoying quiet time of renewing and the buffet breakfast provided with the room.  The weather in Delhi is hot and sticky, so we enjoyed the air conditioned rooms as long as we could.

Then we were shuttled back to the airport and thought the process of procuring the ticket, back outside and down to the third entrance to check luggage.  Although we only had one bag each, domestic flights in India are limited to 15 kilos each.  We were over by 14 kilos, so it was off to the cashier to pay the overages then back to the bag check booth.  Next was the hand baggage check point to obtain tags for our overweight carry ons!

Indian airports are about as unique as each other airport I have visited recently.  I was very careful to go through the "ladies" scanner and into our private screening booth.  (Connie, I did point out signs to Mark just before we were separated by a group of four women who pushed their way right between us!

We got to do a good bit of walking through the airport, but we enjoyed the stroll with plenty of time to browse the modern shops.

The flight to Guwahatti was comfortable as we were seated across from each other...both on the aisle with a vacant middle seat!

Ray McMillan was sitting on the porch reading when we drove up to the Nakshastra Hotel in our taxi.  After checking in, we visited while Mark and I grabbed a late, light lunch.  

Our afternoon was an adventure!  Dimbeswar's son Michael is in town serving as translator for Ray.  He met us in the lobby to accompany us to Dipak Ray's home and church.  We took two tuktuks and maneuvered the city streets fine.  We even did pretty well going up the red dirt road for a while.  Then the trek up the side of the hill began...I only wish I had been warned to wear tennis shoes instead of sandals!  Huffing and puffing, we two old city folks finally asked for a couple breathers before we spied Depak's daughter Eesha waving from above.  As we rounded the last bend, we found Depak waiting outside his home.  We gathered in the church building for a visit while Jyoti and Eesha served us water, bananas and apples and then sweets and tea.  The trip down to the tuktuks was much easier though there was always the concern of slipping in the slick mud.

After several minutes of scraping, I finally had to wash my sandals in the shower!

We unpacked the visit in the fourth floor lobby before returning to the hotel restaurant for dinner.

The end of the tuktuk trail...

Dipak lives just beyond the cell tower at the top of the hill!

Dipak Ray and our tuktuks...