Friday, October 17, 2008

Bikes, Cows, Henna, and the work

October 12 -17th
This post is mainly going to be about some of the things we see daily in India. The work moves ahead, but writing about putting together a catchment dam project tracking document or making travel arrangements for the short-term specialist team, or inspecting the elders apartments, etc., just does not hold the interest I'm betting the following may have. Monday night we traveled over to Delhi to have dinner with David and Angela McIllece and their family. David is a major in the Air Force and is in India under what could be considered a military fellowship to study the Hindi language. He is also a counselor in the new District presidency. David grew up with Jared Tanner and is one of a great group of young men that came from their Sandy neighborhood.

Anil Verma, his daughter Gauri, and neice Sonu who are good friends. They are the ones that
took us on the tour of religious festivals written about previously.

This is the standard bicycle rickshaw that is so prevalent all over India. This morning, we went with Elder Ivie and Elder Vanjarapu to a hospital to visit with an administrator about possible volunteer service. Yes, Sister Tanner and I were in another rickshaw in front of them. Since the Elders in Noida are limited this month on what they can do in "finding", they are looking to spend more time on volunteer work. Depending on their initial experience, there may be opportunities for members of the Noida group to become involved also.

Ground level view while riding in a bicycle rickshaw.

Sister Tanner is fascinated with the cows and I'm intrigued with the bicycles in their multitude of configurations and uses. The pictures give a few examples, but I have seen about everything imaginable loaded and carried on some type of bicycle structure, some to the point of having to be pushed, not ridden. Sister Tanner says I should consider something like this as a possible replacement for my truck when we get back.

How's this for hauling rebar. Those are continuous bars bent to wrap around the front of the bike/truck.

Some must push, and some must pedal ...

I was backing up to take a picture as this big guy kept plodding along. I got the picture just before he stretched out his neck and snorted at the camera. I stepped aside and he plodded on by. You definitely have to walk with your head up around the neighborhood. The market area we use for bread, etc. and for the following story is down the street behind the bull.

October is something like a Valentines Day over here. Married women fast all day for their husbands and then when the moon is first visible, the husband feeds his wife to break the fast. As part of the deal, the woman gets designs on her hands. Nothing religious involved, just a cultural custom. They apply henna using a tube with a fine opening, kind of like cake decorating, to create beautiful designs on the hands and arms. The lady at the table in the back right, dark outfit, has a degree from Johns Hopkins and speaks excellent, no accent English. Sister Tanner and I have an invitation to dinner at their home. We also visited with a man holding his young son who was a ship's captain for fuel tankers, but now consults out of Hong Kong so he can be home and be there as his son grows. He has an older son and realized what he had missed with him and isn't going to let that happen this time around. We had some great conversations in the market place today on our way home from the hospital trip.

While I was in the store in the background buying a light bulb, Sister Tanner walked over to see what was going on and struck up a conversation with the ladies and the next thing I knew she wanted to join the fun. She hadn't eaten yet, so the fasting element was there so the next thing I knew, I had a wife fasting for me and I'm on the hook for garlic chicken from Bamboo Shoots tonight. Go gal!! Here she is with the young lady who did her artwork.

Here is Sister Tanner's hand with the henna design. Can you see the peacocks and hearts?

You put a lime juice and sugar solution on it for 3 hours, then rub the dried henna off. What is left is the orange colored design in the last picture. It will take a couple of weeks to wash away.

The finished product. What do you think Mom? Will we get a call from the mission president?

Not a cow, but another Sister Tanner water buffalo fascination shot. That's a load of bricks if it isn't clear.

Sister Tanner went shopping for embroidery floss, not your usual crafts fair. Somewhere along the line that day, she got 42 flea or mosquito bites on her lower legs.

And I'll finish up with this little account. I went with the elders last evening to visit a member family while Sister Tanner remained home to finish some cooking projects. Since our group leader, Elder Smith, is in the states for his mother's funeral, I'm in charge of sacrament meeting Sunday. Now how would you like to have someone actually ask if they could speak in Sacrament meeting? Had that happen with Sister Archana last night so I've got her and her brother Ajit lined up for November 9th. Brother Ajit Singh's father lives with them and we hit it off pretty good. I'd like to refer to him as the old man, but then I realized he's only 2 years older than I am. He loved it whenever I refered to the 2 of us as the "grandfathers". He is not a member, but will be coming to church this Sunday. He also came with Ajit when he drove us home and they came in with the elders to eat some of Sister Tanner's apple crisp with vanilla ice cream. They loved it!! My sweet companion is getting quite a rep in the mission for her goodies and dinners. But if you only knew the frustration she has gone through to make things work. The flour is apparently different and I can only imagine the frustration of trying to make pie crust when the dough just crumbles no matter what you do with it. That was how we wound up with apple crisp. But bless her heart, she is the most resourceful and persevering person I know and I love her!


Jared and Kristi said...

Sister Nannie, the girls liked your henna hands although they were very worried that it wasn't going to come off. they love reading the blog and emails. sounds like you both are having a wonderful time. it's starting to get cold here. bummer. the girls all say we love you!!

Jared and Kristi said...

I forgot to tell you my bosses nephew just left on his mission to India. he's from Idaho. I can't remember his name but will find out. India isn't that big, right? ha!