After 36 hours on planes and in airports we finally arrived home on Monday, August 18th at around 3 p.m. It has taken all of last week to get back to normal. What day is it? What time is it? When should I eat? What meal should I eat? are all questions that had unknown answers for brief periods of time. Jet lag on the way home was really hard, but I guess when you figure in that the plane ride from Delhi to Chicago was 15 hours, 7 hours layover, 4 hour flight to Portland from Chicago and figure in the 12 1/2 hour difference in time it makes one realize why it is hard to recover. It is really nice to be home and be with our boys after being away from them in a different country for 10 days!
India is an amazing place!!!! From the moment we stepped out of the airport in Delhi we were met with UNBELIEVABLE humidity, smells, and sounds of the country we would be in for the next 10 days. India is definitely a country of extremes!!! It is not uncommon to see beautiful, expensive building right next to run down shacks. You see beautiful, brightly colored clothing on women who are living in slums. On your drive to see the gigantic and beautiful temples and buildings you pass a slum area with children running around with no clothes on begging for food at your car window. The emotional roller coaster is non stop as you travel through India, at least that was the case for us.
We spent our mornings at the school in Shah Abad. The children in this school were happy and absolutely beautiful. The smiles we saw each morning will be a memory that will not leave our minds for many years to come. It was an amazing time to worship God with these children in their own language. We had learned worship songs in Hindi before we left the states and we sang them to the children and taught them hand motions to go with them. We also brought some fun American songs that the kids absolutely loved....Dum, Dum, Da, Da, the Chicken dance and Tootie Ta. It was great to hear them singing in English too! The kids were taught different Biblical Principles...courage, obedience, and servant hood through story, skits, crafts and snacks. On the last day at the school the children were presented with the Gospel message. Our prayer is that a seed was planted in each child's heart and that it will grow over time.
We were able to visit a portion of the Shah Abad slums the second day we were there. As we walked down the dirt road headed towards the living area of the slums we saw pigs wondering around and tons of people running with containers towards a large truck in the middle of the road. The truck was a water truck that enters the slums once a day to give fresh drinking water to the community. The men, women and children poured out of the slums with as many containers as they could carry. Water is a precious item and one that we take for granted in the states. As we walked into the living area of the slums we were greeted by tons of beautiful smiling faces of children. It is so hard to see the living conditions of these children and their families and then see these smiling faces. It is difficult to reconcile the two in your mind, but it goes along with the extremes I talked about earlier. We were able to see a women's home that she uses as a school for about 50 children. She teaches them in her home every day. This room was packed with children with very little room to physically move around and it was SO HOT in that little room you could hardly breathe. The children sang songs for us and I was able to capture their precious voices on video. They were so happy to entertain us. We were able to teach the children a song with motions while we were there too.
Our plans for our Friday and other days were altered due to extreme rain. The slums were not assessable due to mud that was hip deep in places. A few members of our team had visited another school in Muneer on Thursday. This is a Muslim school. We were to help put in a road as the school is unassessable when the rains come. A start to the road was accomplished on Thursday, but by Thursday evening we were informed that there was water knee high in the school and that we would not have access to that area either. To be honest it was disappointing to have the rains come, because it really changed the projects we had planned.
Throughout the week at the school we provided medical care for the children, teachers and families of the school. The first day we were able to attend to the children and staff at the school. By the next day the word got out that there was a doctor at the school and we were slammed with people for the remainder of the week (which was awesome!) Dr. Jason did an amazing job treating patient after patient, hour after hour. The majority of the issues were skin conditions, stomach issues, and ear issues. There was a lot of cleaning wax and various items out of ears. Dr. Jason said that it is so important that the ears are addressed, because it causing learning problems for the children as they cannot hear properly and it hinders their learning and speech. One little boys had a dead ant in his ear!!
The most touching story for us was a little girl that came to the clinic with her mom. I had seen this little girl the first day and was shocked by this tiny, frail, malnourished body that I saw. She was the most unhealthy patient I had seen that day. I talked with Dr. Jason at lunch and asked if he had seen her and he said no. I described her condition and her age, which she looked about 2-3 months old to Dr. Jason and he said that it may be too late to help her. The next day the mom came back and Dr. Jason was able to see her daughter. It turns out this baby was 11 months old and weighed around 6 pounds!!!! Through translators we found out that the baby was not able to keep any food down. Dr. Jason prescribed some medication for acid reflux and sent her home. The following day the mom brought the little girl back and said that she had kept all her food down the previous day and you could visibly see she looked better. I believe that this little girl now has a fighting chance, because God placed us there at the right time. This precious baby girl is in the photo above.
We are thankful that we had the opportunity to experience the country of India, it's people, food and most precious children. A part of our hearts will forever be in India.
To see more photos you can go to www.flickr.com/photos/indiateam2008 Darin originally uploaded 310 pics from the trip. However, the free flickr account only allows 200 therefore the first 110 got clipped.