Thursday, June 4, 2009

There is some problem...

For over a week now, I have woken each morning and faced the reality of no running water. In the States the only time I can remember not having water was when the power was out from a storm. Only during a hurricane would this waterless state of affairs approach twenty-four hours. I recently read a former YAV's blog on Americans' relationship with electricity and how crippled we are without it. Her basic argument was nearly all our activities, "productive" and otherwise, require electricity. In a similar way, when our water stops coming through the pipes, we have no alternative.

Here the alternative before I can bathe, brush my teeth, and/or shave is to take my two buckets and walk down with my friends to the nearby well. And I mean walk down, because the well is wonderfully positioned at the bottom of the hill our hostel sits on. While there's something fulfilling about dropping that silver pail down the well while trying not to get rope burn on your hands or let the pail hit the fern-covered sides, I miss the time when water kindly obeyed my request by falling out of the faucet in my wall when encouraged by the turn of a knob.

A couple day ago, as we waited for one of my friends to draw water, I commented to another that it had now been a week since we had water. His response put me in my place: "Yes, John, but we have water. In India, many people have no water. There is some problem, but we have water." I realized immediately he was completely right; because of climate change, pollution by Western corporations, and a whole host of other causes I know too little about, many people here (and elsewhere) have lost the ability to use the water near their homes and are forced to walk miles each day.

Leaving the States hasn't perfected my awareness of global problems. Even in India I take for granted the convieniences I do have and forget that there are those who suffer to meet their daily needs. It frightens me to think of how much more disconnected I will be from my global siblings once I return to the States, but one of my goals for is to constantly work toward a higher level of awareness. But it will take an extraordinary of initiative; even when we live in the Majority/Third World, it's possible to protect ourselves from harsher realities. But doesn't this only limit our immersion in God's creation.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

New Stuff for You!

You can find my most recent newsletter on the PC(USA) website.

Also you can find almost 200 photos from my All India Tour and new photos from Kerala.

(Blogs coming soon!)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Alive in Delhi

After a 48-hour train ride up the subcontinent, we arrived in Delhi Friday to be hosted by Sue and David Hudson (as well as their daughter Mary), who both work for the PC(USA). It's evident they belong in India, because they have Indian hospitality nailed down. And it tastes great!

After seeing India Gate and the seat of government at sunset Friday, we woke up and stormed Delhi with a vengeance Saturday. Last night I walked into the Hudson's apartment and informed them we had "conquered Delhi." Which is quite the overstatement as there is much more to see than the tourist sites we hit: Qutb Minar, Lotus Temple, Humayun's Tomb, Connaught Place, Chandni Chowk, Red Fort, Jama Masjid.

It's a little early for a full-blown "John's Thoughts" post on Delhi, but my first impression is that Delhi is so alive. The last place we visited, Jama Masjid - one of the largest mosques in India, is found in Old Delhi. What was so striking about the mosque was the long walk from the closest street to the bottom of the steps that led up to the mosque itself. So many people were gathered along the way selling, drinking, buying, talking, and throwing rocks at dogs. It was clear that there was such a sense of place for these people; they were so incredibly oriented to the mosque - it bound them together. From the top of the steps, I got the strong sense that I was standing right in the middle of so much. Such a sense of community! I just couldn't get enough. I can't imagine what it would be like if churches created that type of space.

From the top of the steps at Jama Masjid
Tonight we're headed to Agra via train and will return tomorrow evening to Delhi. I'm not sure how much internet access I'll have for the rest of the trip, so don't necessarily expect too much blogging along the way, but I'll do what I can. Here are a few pictures from the last couple days:

Sudie and me in front of India Gate
At Qutb Minar
Qutb Minar
The Lotus Temple
Pulkit - Sudie's best-friend from college - and Sudie
At the Red Fort