Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Update from the Himalayas

So much has happened here in India since the last time we posted an update.  If we were to write down all the stories of the highlights, lowlights, joys, and challenges over the past 3 months, it would be so long that perhaps not even our own moms would read till the end.  And since TV, social media, and smart phones are lowering our attention spans exponentially, we decided to give you this update pictorially. 
One of the Bhojpuri literacy trainers practicing our teaching method 

Bhojpuri Teacher Training Workshop - I love this brother....he rarely ever stops smiling

Nora and "Gyan Uncle" have a very special relationship.....Gyan was LEI's first national missionary and he was our host in West Bengal for the first two months.

Bengali Primer Construction Workshop (layman's terms: making a new book to teach reading in the Bengali langauge)

Asleep on the job

The apple doesn't fall far from the tal palo, tal astilo. 

When you see this you know there's a going to be a tasty green leaf curry for dinner.

Emily's first attempt at Mehendi (Henna).....she's a natural artist

The guy on the right is a Hindu priest 

After almost 3 years of traveling all over the world with Ian, we've determined that, as long as he has his cars around, he'll be content in whichever country he happens to wake up in. 

Home sweet home or solar oven??? you decide.

Gyan's wife Ramola and our friend Susma helped us out so much with Nora.  
Ian always has time to cuddle with his mommy
Gyan's son smile in all of India (and that's outsmiling over a billion people)

Potato/gourd curry and rice

You know you've been in the third world too long when your kid asks if he can ride on the luggage rack

A happy little girl with her happy Indian uncle.
Medical campaign in West Bengal

One of our few "couple photos" since we've had kids.  We grow even closer when we travel, learning team-work and the value of family.
Seeing monkeys on the road is very common here, but the novelty hasn't worn off for us yet.....we love it. 

Gyan arranged for us to ride through the jungle on top of this elephant....definitely one of the highlights of the trip

Two things are funny about this picture to a non-indian eye.....the first is "BLOW OK HORN" this is Indian English for "Beep if you want to pass me, ok?".....can you spot the 2nd thing?

Praise and Worship with our Bhojpuri brothers and sisters

Teacher Training Workshop

Graduates of the teacher training workshop

Bhojpuri literacy champion MK and his lovely mother. 

Chai break

Sunil, one of the Bhojpuri literacy trainers

nothing enhances a worship session like a dholak and tambourine 

Worshipping with dance

Roof-top view of Patna

This is our happy-thanksgiving-from-the-Jungle picture, brought to you by our little turkey and his papaya branch.

The obligatory Taj Majal photo

A sample of India's crowded streets.  (Notice the electric poles).

We are currently living with a family that runs an English-medium school, Victorious English School, in the Himalayas of northern India (near Tibet).  We are staying on the second level of the school with the family.

Here we are with Balabir Negi, our host, and founder of Victorious Mountains Ministry.  During our first week here, we were given a traditional Himalayan welcome.  Each child presented us with a necklace, many made of strung flowers or nuts or dried coconut; others presented us with medallion-like necklaces and fresh flowers.  Notice Ian enjoying his necklace made of almonds!

Visiting our hosts' parents.  They live right on the edge of a cliff overlooking a river, and here we are hanging out on the stone-shingle roof.  One afternoon we came tired and they served us chai tea with hot whole-wheat rotis (like tortillas) and homemade ghee (clarified butter).  It was so delicious and comforting on a cold day!

Pausing for a photo on our way to pick apples.

Our host family has a little girl who is about a year and a half older than Ian.  They became fast friends!

Emily wearing the traditional Kinnauri hat, which lets everyone know which region of the Himalayas they pertain to.  The hand-woven wool stoles are also part of their traditional garb.  Our hostess is there in the middle.  The lady on the left is one of the teachers here, with her two sons; she is a new believer!

Holding Palak and sporting a typical Kinnauri hat and wool coat from Northwest Himachal Pradesh.  

Our was stolen on one of India's notorious trains.  It was heartbreaking both because of the loss of a great camera, and because of the hundreds of priceless photos that I hadn't transferred over to my computer.  A week later, Emily's parents sent us a care package through FedEx Intl. that was also stolen somewhere in the state where we're staying.  We were reminded of a famous saying in Hindi - "Even though 98 out of 100 are thieves, still India is great!"  It was hard not to feel bitter.  Then, a week after that we got word that "Sherman" our '81 Ford Courier had been stolen in Arkansas. What's the lesson?  Theft, greed, and the depravity of the human heart in general are one of the few things that plagues all of humanity, regardless of race or place.
Nora's 1st birthday party - celebrating with the school children on November 20th.
She was given a very soft and warm handmade dress by our host family as a birthday gift.  As it is very chilly here, it was the perfect party dress!

Family photo!

Where it all first trip to India and the first primer construction I led in 2003.  My love for India and Indians has grown ever since.    

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous8:06 AM

    You guys are so inspiring. I always feel humbled reading about the sacrifices you make and the time and energy you commit to spreading the gospel and being of service to others. You truly are great examples of Christianity...examples that are not represented often enough. Thank you for what you do. You're indirectly helping people like me, too. People in America who are unwilling to get out of their comfort zones for Christ's sake... even if it's helping out in their own backyards. Nora and Ian have a wonderful life ahead of them, and two amazing parents raising them. I'll keep praying for you. May God bless you always.



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