Didi, it’s what all of the girls call us staff ladies. It means “older sister” in Hindi and is used as a sign of respect. So, I am either called didi, Dori didi, or sister. I like it. In fact, I think I am liking it more as I develop more of a relationship with the girls here.
I would like to thank you all for your prayers. God’s peace has certainly been prevalent. For the most part the girls have reconciled, though there seems to be some leftover tension. Zoe* seems genuinely sorry and has been able to stay at Roja and Hope* seems to have forgiven her. Saturday was an incredibly calm day with the girls. They had horse therapy in the morning so by the time I met them back at Roja at lunch time they were all very tired and took naps. I got to read a lot. 🙂
On Sunday, after church, the two girls that have children (Harmony* has two boys and Naomi* has one daughter) had us all over for lunch at their home. (They do not live at Roja since they have children.) So, the two of them, their children, the three Roja girls, and I went to their house on foot… 9 of us total. It took well over an hour for us to hike up the mountain where they live. We all took turns carrying bags, carrying Naomi’s* daughter Grace,* and passed around my water to share. Hope* held my hand the majority of the way (at least when I wasn’t carrying Grace*) and Harmony’s* boys, Gabriel* and Aaron*, took turns holding my hand as well. When we finally got to Harmony* and Naomi’s* house we were all quite tired. (Understatement?) We ate some snacks while they began to prepare dinner. Then I brought out my camera. Two of the girls in particular, Hope* and Faith* became quite enthralled. It was the first time I really took photos of the girls. Smiles and laughter ensued as I began to snap photos, and they took turns behind the lens as well. I am in awe of the joy that was captured. After taking photos on the roof top, we all ate poratas, chile chutney, rice, and dal sitting on the floor of their home which is probably 1/3 of the size of my bedroom in Fresno. (They have only one cot, the rest of them sleep on a mat on the floor, there is no bathroom, and no kitchen. They have a small hot plate that is on the floor as a stove.) I felt like I bonded, laughed, and smiled more with the girls this Sunday than any other day thus far. I am truly thankful after such a challenging few weeks, but especially after what took place Thursday. I felt like I really became their “Didi” that day.
Something that has also taken place in the last week or so is that Faith* revealed some more information to her story to one of the volunteers. A little bit of Faith’s* story… Her mother died when she was young, her sister committed suicide, and she was abused by her new stepmother. Her uncle (her father’s brother) was the person to traffick her. She was in a brothel for five months and upon getting out she had an abortion (this was the newly shared information), she has had to deal with the loss of this child as well as the loss of relationship with her father (they were close before she was trafficked). It is really important to note how meaningful it is for one of the girls to open up about their life’s story, to be vulnerable, and also so that we, the staff and volunteers, can better know how to love, counsel, and understand her. This is a good thing!
I ate an amazing meal a few nights ago at one of the better restaurants in Ooty. It is incredible how much I have come to appreciate good food… food that I choose to eat (as opposed to having only one option in front of me). I ate poulet cordon bleu and strawberries with cream and ice cream for dessert. Had I eaten the (French) chicken dish in the states I would have probably said it was ok, but I was sooo happy. The dessert though- the four of us volunteers that ate together devoured it. Strawberries are my favorite fruit, and not eating them as well as many of my favorite things for over a month… well, let’s just say my tummy was extremely pleased. And I have yet to have any tummy problems or sickness since I’ve been here too! Yay!
Another thing to note- I have been sleeping better! I still wouldn’t mind some prayers for even better though!
All in all I see God is on the move. He is good. He is faithful.
He’s the hope of nations.
* All names changed:
curious about some of the meanings?
Naomi- “My delight”
Gabriel -“God’s able bodied one; hero of God”
Aaron- “light bringer, brightness”