I love the bus. Taking the bus in the morning with the girls to Smyrna (where they have school/work) is such a funny experience. I’ve gotten use to being the only non-Indian (99% of the time) but besides that… The particular buses I take to Smyrna are incredible. They are green. The first one is complete with green flowery curtains throughout the inside of the bus and incense. The second has these decorative flowers hanging over the front windshield, and the driver must be Catholic because he has stickers of Mary and Jesus. Oh, and the buses here BLAST music. Most of the time it is so loud, I once had a phone call on the bus and had to keep asking the person to repeat themselves because I could not hear. I am constantly amazed that the bus can make it up the hill to Smyrna. I can almost hear it saying, “I think I can, I think I can….” I’m also in awe of the fact that the bus fits on the road. It’s challenging enough when there are no other vehicles, but add an auto, scooter, or dare it be even a car or svu… it is quite something. Someone ends up backing up this way or that, we end up scraping the bushes etc. The other day, one of the girls was sitting next to me, Hope*, and she was somewhat distraught by the fact that the trees’ branches were hitting me through the window, so she pointed for me to close it. Squeakkkkk Squeakkk I tugged on the window, barely getting closed in time before the branches whacked against it again.
One highlight of my week, was when this same girl Hope* held my hand. In India it is very common for good friends (males or females, but of the same gender) to hold hands as a sign of affection and friendship. She was the first of the girls to do this, and yet she is the one who has the least ability to communicate verbally with me as she hardly knows English at all.
Speaking of English, it’s nice to see the bits of improvement in the girls. They seem to really enjoy “story time” as I read a children’s story they gather around really close, and often ask for me to read another. We have been reading out of a “Treasury book for Girls.” They really like these stories, it tugs at my heart because most of them had their childhood, their “girlhood” so to speak, and innocence taken from them. Perhaps, this is why they enjoy stories of tea parties, fairies, and ballerinas so much. It’s funny how much being a nanny has prepared me for this! I read countless stories, practiced letters, and writing with the now nearly 4 year old girl I was a nanny for. Now, I am doing that with these girls.
I am increasingly glad I like Indian food and chai tea as I eat about six meals a week with the girls. The usual meal is white rice with some sort of curry or spicy mixture with potatoes and other vegetables. The girls were initially shocked at the level of spiciness I could handle, and now I think it pleases them as some of them offer me food they have made at home and have brought to eat as a snack during tea time. I frequently tell them they make great food. 🙂 Though, in my spare time, when I cook for myself I am drawn to non-Indian foods. Typical days Indians drink chai twice in a day, and I almost always have some; I love chai. The ladies that prepare lunch at Smyrna seem to have taken a liking to me as well often telling me, “You very nice looking.” This weeks addition was ,”You look like dolly.” Ha ha. It’s shows just how much I stand out here… fair skin, blue eyes, and red hair.
I began measuring all the jewelry pieces for the purpose of posting the information on the website and documentation for the workshop. Also, Anika and I tackled the photo project of cards and bookmarks for the website. We collaborated, and I took all the photos over two afternoons. Here is a little glimpse.
http://www.ruhamah.in/ Cards and bookmarks to be listed soon.
The most challenging thing this week has been a continuation of challenges with a particular girl, Joy*, I don’t care to get in to the details much, and didn’t prior intentially, however I will give a brief explanation. Joy* is the most recent girl to start FF’s program, she was rescued about 9 years ago, and was in the program for the main purpose of working and having a place to stay. She has decided to leave, and it’s not on good terms. She has had some conflict with particularly one of the girls here, and her pride has stopped her from dealing with the issue. She has been increasingly manipulative as well. In many ways she seemed to be the most spiritually mature girl here, but she has other underlying issues that are holding her back. FF has tried to offer her connections to a hostel as a place to stay, or to remain in FF at Roja, but she has decided not to. She does not seem to have a place to go and we are concerned about her being in a vulnerable state, for her safety, and need of maturation instead of escaping her conflicts. Today, was our FF staff prayer meeting, and I ask for you to partner with us in prayer for her safety, growth, and well-being. I also humbly ask for your prayers over the FF staff as this as well as some other challenges have made the past couple of weeks exhausting to those of us involved in the aftercare program, especially Anik, the aftercare director. We have joked that we are all getting gray hair.. or losing it, but in all seriousness it is emotionally wearing. God is the ultimate peace-giver, and we believe he can supernaturally refresh us. We need it.
Thanks for all of your support! This week I had another $80 come in. So, I’m at $2,890! Ha! At this point, I truly don’t think I will need more! God has blessed me so much through those of you I know, and those I have never met.
Oh, and another thing just to humor you all, I had my first 3 person scooter ride today. Certainly if three grown Indian men can do it, three caucasian girls can. A hilarious thing to imagine I’m sure. We got a kick out of the locals facial expressions!