Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Things We Just Don't Say At Home...

Back where we belong in rural India for just over a week now. Thailand seems like a distant memory as we’ve jumped back in with all the excitement of helping orphans and preparing for all that is to come this Fall.

In the mean time, a humorous look at “Things We Say in India That We Don’t Say at Home” – actually first authored by a colleague of ours from Texas, but appropriate for all Westerners living life in rural India.

Enjoy the latest window into our day-to-day experiences here:

“Close the door so the monkeys don’t come in.” (This one was especially pertinent this week when we forgot to close that door and the monkeys did come in, promptly helping themselves to two bananas and a $3 package of raisins.)

“Did you boil that first?”

“No thank you. I think I may be allergic to goat brains.”

“You will feel better if you ride with your eyes closed.”

“I hit a cow in the butt with my mirror.”

“I got up to get a glass of water and two bats flew by my head.”

“No, I do not believe that gecko is more scared of me than I am of it!”

“To get there, you turn left after the six story tall monkey with a loin cloth.”

“Please make sure you remove all the feathers from the chicken.”

“I have to go to the bathroom. Please pull over by the next big tree you see.”

“She got there before me because I got stopped in a traffic jam – two cows were fighting in the middle of the road”.

“Did you SEE the SIZE of that rat!?”

When teaching a ‘newbie’ how to cross the street: “It’s really simple. Think of yourself as being in a game of human Frogger. You are less likely to get splattered if you just keep moving.”

“I wonder what that was that we just ate?”

“Thank you, God, for toilet paper. Amen.”

While riding in a rickshaw surrounded by a herd of goats:

“Eeewww that goat just stuck his head in and sneezed on me!”

“No more pictures please. Trust me, I’m nobody famous.”

"The electricity didn't go out today. It must be a holiday!".

Monday, September 5, 2011

Covenant Children's Homes - 2031

(Pictures above are of Dr. Akash, Dr. Ashok and Komali back in 2011 when they lived in the children's homes of their respective villages.)

It’s a Wednesday afternoon in Hyderabad, India in September of 2031.

Dr. Akash is on his way to lunch with his friend and colleague, Dr. Ashok. Years ago they graduated from medical school together and have been partners in practice ever since. When they arrive they reminisce about their time growing up in the Ongole villages together and the crazy memories of living with 10 brothers, plus a few other children in the village who always seemed to be around. But more than reminiscing, they are also focused on the future and what’s in store for them as well as their former villages. They long to take their medical knowledge and influence and represent the rural poor who, despite years of efforts, are still greatly in need of support and help to adapt to the ever-changing world.

As the government cracked down on corruption over the past 20 years, India’s economy grew at record paces, now outshining even that of the United States. India’s economy and influence in the world is now second only to that of China, India’s tense geographical and geopolitical neighbor. India’s democracy continues to be the largest in the world and is slowly becoming the most influential. The state of Andhra Pradesh has seen tremendous growth in the past 30 years and Akash and Ashok are a part of its future.

During their lunch, they get a text message from Komali, another friend of theirs from village life who has been an engineer for the past eight years. She is part of a unique government program that focuses on rural infrastructure and makes it much easier for India’s agriculturally-dependent population to get to the cities, which have continued to grow at an astonishing pace, in order to have influence in government and politics.

Komali asks Dr. Akash if he is attending the next network meeting of Covenant Children’s Homes professionals who are gathering four times-per-year to strategize on how to do more to impact Andhra Pradesh. The CCHP Network has been organized now for over seven years and the goal of the group is to mobilize themselves in government, medicine, engineering, computer science, the arts, ministry and other endeavors in which former Covenant Children’s Homes children are taking part now that they have successfully completed their university studies. There is also talk of organizing and financially supporting participants who are taking the CCH model to other states, especially to people in the north of India, who are still in desperate need of an answer to the once overwhelming, but now manageable nationwide orphan crisis.

CCH has come a long way in the past 20 years with now over 1,000 children’s homes in villages all over Andhra Pradesh. Dr. Akash, Dr. Ashok and Komali are part of the leadership of former CCH children who now number close to 500, and over 10,0000 are waiting in the wings, hoping their school scores will draw the interest of universities. They meet regularly to worship, pray, strategize and continue to build the relational unity needed to effectively work against India’s continued poverty. Some of these former children have been married for many years now as their home parents arranged them, but a few are choosing “love” marriages and have been blessed by the parents and families, as well.

Knowing that their orphan lives could have taken a very different road, these three professionals live with ever-grateful hearts, which compels them to give back while always envisioning the possibilities for India's children, and future leaders.

Funding for these children's homes now comes from a variety of sources: National, international, private and even a unique public fund that was created as part of a 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2028. There’s still more work to be done, which the former children themselves are now funding and leading into the next part of the 21st century and India’s bright future.

(Thank you for your partnership and support for making this vision the reality!)