Although the weather has been very hot for us, (daytime 40C in the shade + rain = high humidity = sticky skin), we have been busy each day. Mid afternoons are reserved for times to ‘take rest’ as is the culture here, and we are thankful for it! The power is on and off at times and during a rest time you might just find one of us laying on the marble tile floor which seems to be the coolest place – not the softest.
Here are some of what we’ve been doing this week:
*Spoke in a church, a ladies group and to students at a Bible school.
*Visited a man who has set up a free education center in a village where most have no power. He provides a place with light for children to come and do their studies in the evening as well as schedules sports games on the weekends. This man is about 55 years old and grew up in this same village and wants these children to succeed. Thirty children came the evening we went to spend time with them and to share stories with them – Jamie’s fishing stories and pictures are always a hit with men and boys of all ages.
*Foot care clinic – a friend of the family is a doctor with a private clinic, so he made space available that Jamie could come and offer free foot care service to whoever wanted.
*Visited a pre-school set up in a tribal area – a lady is taking care of the children so that the parents can go to work. The little kids were so cute…although it was the first time I was so sad that this little 2 year old saw my white face and began to scream! It created a good laugh for all of us.
*A visit to a leper and AIDS colony. Visiting with a man who has lived as a leper for 20 years at this colony. These people are cast aside with no hope for a job and survival is very tough. The colony was started may years ago by a catholic priest and since each family has a little house to live in. The dream of those in the colony is that a school could be built so that their children have a future to look forward to.
*School for Mentally challenged – a compassionate man quit his government job as a special educator and started a school for those who are dear to his heart. Family members often see their special needs child as a punishment from a sin in the past, thus the child is often neglected and set aside. This man has built a school with his own money and unfortunately there are no toilet facilities due to the lack of funds. Children must go in the field. There is a team of teachers as well as an Occupational Therapist who comes in to work with the students who attend each day. Special programs are created for each child and education is also given to the parent on how to help their own daughter or son.
The week had more outings and opportunities but these were the highlights and we felt privileged to participate at each place.
Today we speak at a church in a village and then this afternoon we will catch an overnight bus for the 16 hour trip to Munnar in the state of Kerala. We don’t know what next week will look like, but trust it will be filled with more lessons in culture as well as opportunities to serve these wonderful people.