Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Day is It?

So much Indian culture is in my face and all up in my space! Just shy of 25 hours of travel and delays and one international date line, I stand on a curb in Kolkata at 2am and wonder, "Did we arrive the same day or the day after?" We are whisked away by a taxi driver and his buddy in a funny, little car that could have been driven by "Fozzy the Bear" of the Muppets. Our suitcases are somewhat shoved in the mini-trunk requiring the hatch to be tied down with a red work rag. God, please don't let us lose our luggage on a bump.

"Tom and Jerry," our cabbies, are friendly and attempt to communicate about the Holy River of India (more on that) and the suspension bridge (2nd largest in the world) joining the two parts of the West Bengal state. Ultimately we are deposited 40 miles/60 km from our intended destination at a hotel where gracious hospitality is a warm welcome to two very fatigued travelers.

Smiles, this morning! I still don't know what day it is and I have to wear a ponytail. The young men are attentive and seem to address most of their conversations toward me. I enjoy pleasing everyone with my Hindi. "Dhanyavad" (Thank you) and "Namaste" (Hello).
Mark Buntain's Well-Worn Tool

Namaste. Such a beautiful word spoken with palms together. Translation: I see the divine in you.

My prayer and scripture theme for this trip reflects Namaste. "You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on a stand and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in Heaven."
(Matthew 5:14-16)

What else, today?
Rollin' on the River
  1. Get to our real hotel and connect with Team USA!
  2. Tour the Volunteer Centre at Calcutta Mercy Hospital Campus and touch the well-worn tool belonging to Mark Buntain used to preach countless sermons and winning people to Jesus!
  3. Hang on for a treacherous drive through Canal Slum just minutes away from the hospital.
  4. Kiss my honey while floating down the Ganges, Holy River of India, at sunset!
  5. Enjoy the best Indian food, EVER, with Team USA and Team Kolkata (you'll meet them, this week).
By the way, it is Saturday and Terry will preach in the morning during the Nepali service just in time for you to go to bed on Saturday. Crazy, right? 

Shubh Raatri (good night).
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