Sunday, November 8, 2009

Prelude to Rajasthan

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Elder and Sister Fairbanks came up from Bangalore to Delhi. We drove over to Delhi to meet with President Jackson and the other 2 senior couples in our mission for a follow up planning session on the December Mission Olympics. This is going to be a fun event for the elders and not the straight athletic competition some elders may expect it to be. After that meeting, the Fairbanks joined us with President Jackson and we discuss humanitarian work in India. Elder Fairbanks is the Country Director and President Jackson has some specific ideas and resources to offer for the humanitarian work. Good meeting and discussion.

After the mission office meetings, we went to the hotel to get Sister Tanner situated then to lunch at Subway. She was staying in Delhi with Sister Fairbanks while Elder Fairbanks and I head south to get pictures of all of the completed dams. The ladies had a great time shopping and enjoying a couple of days off to just relax and shop. And did I mention shop? Outside of our family, if Sister Tanner has another shopping soul mate, she found her in Sister Fairbanks. What treasures these ladies found while we were gone and what a boost to the local economy.

Elder Fairbanks and I bid goodbye and headed to Gurgaon to pickup Atul Dev and then it was on to Rajasthan. There is another blog post taken from an Area report with pictures of all the dams. A couple of trip notes. We had another vehicle that was a 4-wheel drive that we switched to for the last leg to some of the dams until it had a flat tire and we left a couple of the group behind to change it and catch up later. We kept in touch and they went through 2 more flats before the trip was over. Because of a blocked road, we had to detour through the town of Baswa and that was the most interesting passage I’ve made in India so far. To get away from following a bus, our driver turned off down a street that was barely passable and we continually had to have people move parked motorcycles, and even bicycles, to allow us to get by. Heaven help us if another car had come from the opposite direction. We did come to a stop when we encountered a trailer with speakers parked on the curb, one of the portable boom boxes used at weddings and other celebrations that call for a lot of amplified music. The owner declined to move it saying we could pass, but there was no way we could get by. There was a cross street about 30 feet down and I was contemplating getting out and moving it around the corner ourselves. There was a lot of shouting and loud discussion going on over it and finally Dinesh, the local dam work coordinator, apparently persuaded cooler heads to roll it out of the way and allow us to go by. The owner wasn’t exactly pleased, but he gave in to group pressure and they moved it. I wish I’d had my camera for that experience, but it was packed away in the back.

I am positive that 4-wheel vehicular traffic is not the norm for the street and we made an interesting side show for all those in the open front shops and work places fronting the street. I got a lot of return smiles as we passed so close I could have reached out the window and touched someone sitting in a shop that was also willing to stretch an arm out. Ironically, going through a town off the main road and down a normally pedestrian or 2-wheeler street, it was clean and had a well kept appearance.

Two days of early starts, 6 AM, lots of riding and lots of walking make for tired seniors. We returned from the trip and finally got back to Noida and home after 10 PM Thursday night.

The next day was a mission zone conference in Delhi at the Vasant Vihar building. Elder Pratt from the Area presidency was beginning a mission tour and our mission was first up. Friday was my 4th straight day of getting up at 5 AM and I was feeling the effects of the early rising and the trip. The zone conference was worth it as first Sister and President Jackson and then Sister Pratt gave us great instruction before we moved upstairs into a smaller room where Elder Pratt continued and concluded a spiritual and instructive conference, one I was able to stay awake in. While we were upstairs, the downstairs was being set up for another type of feeding. The meal after was a Thanksgiving dinner that came early for the mission. Turkey and all the trimmings and it was wonderful. I am so glad there were no more meetings after as my eyelids felt like lead. Elder Pratt served a mission in Argentina 3 years before I did and has been an area and general authority serving in Mexico, Central, and Latin America for the past 30+ years before being called to Asia. After dinner, it was home to continue preparations for Sister Tanner’s annual Halloween Party on Saturday. No scary dinner this year because of the time constraint, but plenty more that will be in another post.

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