We’ll start from where we left off. After our exciting Mysore trip, we had a half-day at the school (they have a half day once a month where the teachers spend the rest of the day together so they don’t get burned out and they can build relationships). Tuesday Prem and Rita had a birthday party here at their home (and our home for that matter) for a good friend of theirs who turned 85. It was a really big party because they aren’t sure how many more birthdays she will see. It has been encouraging to see the devotion of the Christians in India. Even this woman’s birthday party had a sermon, worship, and prayer, granted she is one of the Christian leaders of India, but it was still interesting to see and meaningful to be a part of. Also, the food at the party was incredible; lamb biryani, chicken curry, naan, and concluded with a toffee cake.
Wednesday we were still full the majority of the day at school and that evening we experienced our first true monsoon. At about 8:30pm the rain started pouring outside. Rain here is such a refreshing escape from the constant drizzle in Seattle. Sheets and sheets of rain fell on us as we ran through the streets and into the park. We ran and laughed and splashed and jumped and were wet to the bone. The amazing thing is the next morning everything is dry. The ground here is so dry and thirsty when the rain comes it drinks it up within hours. From there we rolled on through the week until Friday.
Friday (as I’m sure you are all aware) was the 4th of July (United States Independence Day) and we had the privilege to sing our national anthem in front of the school. Did you know that there are like 6 verses to the Star Spangled Banner? We were relieved we only sing the first. For Independence Day we sought out to spend a very American day and decided we would go to the Hard Rock Café for cheeseburgers. The occasion was also marked as the last day at the school of Sonya, another volunteer who was also living here with Prem and Rita. So we made sure she was sent out with a bang. The burgers were incredible and we had a great time at the café, but it did make us all a little homesick.
Saturday we went on a safari and explored the zoo in Bangalore. The safari was fun, we were shuttled nearly arms length away from lions, tigers, and bears, but the real spectacle was inside the park. In the park there were all sorts of token zoo animals plus some interesting ones like deer, geese, and some seemingly pet shop fish in the “aquarium.” We enjoyed all these animals, but weren’t awed until we came to the elephant exhibit. There was a fence with a man and an elephant next to it and when you came up you could hold out a coin and the elephant would pick the coin up with his trunk give it to the man then pat you on the head with his trunk. There were also elephant rides, which we enjoyed in typical tourist style with pictures, giggles, and some generic altogether “whiteness.” The elephants were fun and we were all excited to be so close to them, but looking at how some of them were chained and forced to do tricks for show we felt pangs of regret that something has to be so unhappy for our entertainment.
Tonight (Sunday) we spent the evening with the boys who live at the school we work at. There are 12 of them and we spent time playing football (soccer) with them, telling stories, watching their magic tricks, singing songs, and just having a good time. It was really good to get to know, on a deeper level, some of the kids we see all the time at school.
We all miss our family and friends and have been blessed to be able to call home on occasion from the phone booths down the street. We are also really excited for the depth we are building in our relationships with people at the school and are hopeful to see tangible growth. Until next week.