Friday, 22 February 2013

Hyderabad Bombings - The question that got me thinking

Last night bombings in Hyderabad have really made me think about a few things in my life and in this world that we live in. Yesterday evening Kyekue and I were sat around in our room, not really doing much and just searching about on the internet. It was when browsing Facebook that we came across some information about the two explosions in Hyderabad, which we then researched. Our first concerns went out to those that we know in Hyderabad. We have other volunteers working there, Bharavi and Sugathi and Sonny one of the boys from the family is studying there.

We have since found out that they are all ok so we do not need to worry about them. It was at this point that I realised how much of a bad person I am. I was worried about all the people I know but when I found out that they were ok, I stopped thinking about it completely as if it no longer mattered. This morning when the newspaper arrived at my project, about 20 of the girls came rushing into our room to tell me about the bombings. I began to think about all those people that have just lost someone so dear to them and all the injured people that may die or have to live the rest of the lives with disfigurements. Indian newspapers don’t do things very subtly. All over the front of the paper were photographs of the bomb scene with all the bodies, dead and dying, and the blood everywhere. The girls that brought the paper into my room were translating some of the Telegu words into English for me so I could understand the pictures and all of the words were bad. Words like sad, anger, blood, ambulances, pain, dead, fire, bomb and dying.

I could see the fear in the children’s faces so I tried to explain to them that Hyderabad is far away and it won’t happen in Ongole. But the biggest question is why should it happen at all? No one deserves to be blown to pieces, to die or face disfigurement because some selfish human beings. As a Christian I know that God chooses when people are going to die and those that are believers he will take up to heaven to be with him. But it is not one person’s right to play God and take people lives.

The girls left my room and it was then that I had to face my hardest challenge since being here in Ongole. Manjula, Class 4, stayed behind in my room. She waited and watched unil all the other girls had left the room. And then she spoke these words.

“Why bomb miss”

Manjula is 11. Never before did I think I would have to answer that question to an 11 year old girl, whose mind is completely innocent. I don’t know what makes people want to take another person life. Have you ever tried to answer a question that you don’t even know the answer to yourself?

Like most of the girls here, Manjula is a follower of Christ. Her faith is strong and I know that talking to her about Jesus would be no problem and that would be the best way to understand. So I explained to her that these people they do not know Jesus Christ and they do not know God. They do not know that only God can choose when people die and they do not know that they are sinning against God by killing. We cannot stop these people because it will always be this way. There will always be people like this. But we can pray for those that were affected, those that dies, those who are injure and those who have lost others. It broke my heart when Manjula asked that question because no 11 year old girl should ever need to ask that. But it helped me to answer my own questions and I am thankful for it.

Friday, 15 February 2013

Elephant, Market and Lots of trains

So here goes my January, 2 week holiday in as little words as I can make it because my last holiday blog was unbelievable long.

Indian House - photo taken out of a train window
Our holidays started on the 5th January with us (me, Kyekue and Katie) catching our first of many trains to Chennai, in Tamil Nadu. Changing state which is a nightmare as they no longer speak Telegu and you go back to speaking broken English and using hand signals. From Chennai we took our next train to Kannur.

Trains in India are the most stressful and confusing process known to man. Apparently their system works for them, which I suppose it does. But after being forced to top and tail a single bed smaller than the average cot, I was not to willing to look at the bright side of the Indian railway system. The problem was we booked all our tickets far too late and then was shoved onto the waiting list and RAC train, which basically meant we had to sleep where and when there was no one in the seats.
Me on Kannur beach

In Kannur we had a great time. We met up with Kirsty and Leah (Tirupati volunteers) and we went to see a Hindu ritual called Theyyam. During this ritual, which was being used to bless someone new home, a man is dressed up and then possessed by the god. He then parades around, dancing and throwing flowers, blessing the house and the people in it. It was really interesting to watch but as a Christian I was quite confused as to why someone needs to be dressed up and ‘possessed’ to bless your home.

view from the Edakal caves
We then travel onto a place called Kalpetta. Here we visited Waynard Wildlife sanctuary and went for a very early morning safari in the park. This meant getting up at 3am!! I know crazy right and this was supposed to be our break. As we were leaving the park we saw some elephants in the distance and frankly I was quite disappointed. Waynard was supposed to be the perfect place to see herds of wild elephants but we barely saw any. Our guide was really nice though and he also took us to see the Edakal Caves. They were beautiful and so was the view, if you are willing to climb the thousands of steps to get to the top. It’s easy going when it’s not the middle of the day in scorching Indian heat with a twisted swollen ankle.

Elephant hiding in Waynard
a monkey in Waynard
We then took a toy train from Coimbatore to Ooty. A slow 6000ft climb up a hill. The train was tiny and in our part of the carriage there were so many people with massive rucksacks. It was hilarious watching as we tried to shove the massive bags under seats so small they looked like they were designed for children.

the toy train
Ooty was freezing! That night I wore 2 jumpers, 2 tops, 2 trousers, 1 scarf, 1 shawl, 1 pair of walking socks and 4 blankets. It was soooooo cold. The next day we went horse riding which was funny. Me, Leah and Kirsty went while the other two girls went shopping. Kirsty’s and Leah’s horses hated each other so my rather calm horse was shoved in between them. I had a great time, though I’m not sure if the girls did as their horses were crazy.

We then took the bus journey to end all bus journeys. It was awful. Anyone who knows me well knows I get travel sick, but this coach took it to the extreme. The road was awful, bending turning and bumping all the way back down the hill. I was throwing up on multiple occasions and so was the woman just in front of me. At one point the journey was so awful that I thought the whole bus was going to throw up, including the driver who had gone just as green as the rest of us. But just then the bus journey took a turn for the better. We started to drive through a wildlife sanctuary and we were seeing loads of animals, deer, peacocks and monkeys. We had been driving for a couple of minutes then on the side of the road stood a whole herd of elephants, big ones, small ones, and babies!! I was so excited and for that minute I stopped being sick they were beautiful and so close.

Mysore market
We got to Mysore (our next stop) quite late, booked into our hotel and went to sleep, still queasy from the bus journey but so happy from seeing the elephants. The first day in Mysore was spent doing lots of shopping. It the place to buy silks, so we splashed out on some new saris . . . I brought three! Oops. The next day we took a tour. I visited an art gallery, the zoo, the palace, the temple, a church and some gardens. It was all very beautiful and was a good way to see Mysore as we would never have been able to do and see all that 1 one day alone. The next day we had a rather slow morning, and just lazed around doing a bit of shopping and packing. In the afternoon we took our train to Bangalore.

Mysore palace
the gardens in mysore
Bangalore was a major disaster. We met up with Ruby and Veebs but by now we were completely shattered from all our travelling. We just spent most of our time relaxing and doing some small shopping. In Bangalore I got my ears pierced! First time ever and I’m not sure if I’m used to then being there yet. We also went to see Life of Pi in the cinema in 3D, if you haven’t seen it, do it!! It’s amazing!!

five stuffed in an auto rickshaw
Our McDonald's in Bangalore
We arrived back at Ongole on the 17th to our gorgeous children and an amazing breakfast cooked by Sweetie.

Excited for summer holidays!! Just need to get planning now!!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Alice the Camel had One Hump

Well my camel had two humps and I’m not going to lie it was rather uncomfortable. But it may have been my only time to get to ride one so I just went for it.

On New Year’s Day, me and Kyekue were sitting in our room relaxing to some tunes, after a long night the night before. We were called by some of the girls who were sitting n the balcony to come and look but they said a word in Telegu and we didn’t understand. I went onto the balcony and looked over to see some of the kids riding on a colourfully dressed camel. It was so strange to see one up close instead of just in a zoo and it was massive.

We were then called down to ride it and I was a bit nervous about it. Which is odd as it was a bit like riding a horse except a bit more uncomfortable. Kyekue was totally up for riding it but she said she had ridden one before. I really wanted a go but decided it would be better if me and Kyekue went together. Before I knew it I was being shoved up onto this camel and Jessica was thrown up with me. Then we started walking leaving Kyekue behind. And it wasn’t that bad. Though my bum started to ache after just a small distance ... I’m glad we only went the length of the road. We are planning on doing a whole camel trek through the desert in our bigger holidays, not sure how my bum will be after that. 
Me on the camel, camel looking grumpy, me looking scared

I’m sorry this is late.. I will also be posting my January holiday blog soon so keep a look out