It seems that I’ve now been at CMS over a week… and what a week it has been! The adjustment has gone exceedingly well over all (from my vantage point). After accepting the fact that I am not going to be told what to here, but am left to my own devices to discover how I am to be of use, I’ve enjoyed my time quite a lot.
Most of my time has been spent walking or sitting around meeting new students (all with names I find I am currently incapable of pronouncing) or reading. Now, we were told early on that most YAV’s found themselves reading a sufficient amount, and truth-tellers they are! Since coming here to CMS, I have completed The Shack and The Inheritance of Loss and am currently enjoying Pride and Prejudice.
While both completed novels are worth recommending, I will heartily encourage all readers of this blog to take the time to read The Shack if they have even the most minimal interest in God and the relationship humans share with the Trinity. Even if the book makes plenty of theological assumptions, most of which I agree with, I’m certain that people from any point in the theological spectrum have something to gain from the novel.
Back to my activities… I was thrilled to receive my first “assignment” on Monday, after delivering my (now weekly) message at the English chapel service, which was to edit and help publish the Malayalam-English Order of Worship for Morning Services, which will be used for the three services per week. Wow, a real duty; my ego quite enjoyed the opportunity to feel needed. After 24 hours my editing was complete and I was escorted to CMS Press (run by the local Diocese of the Church of South India) where I was able to view the first printing press in Kerala, brought over by Benjamin Bailey, founder of CMS College, himself in order to print the first Malayalam Bible in the early 19th Century.
On a completely unrelated note, I know there has been concern expressed about my becoming more of a stick figure than I already am while living in India. Let me put these fears to rest: I am eating more here than I ever have in my life (possibly combined). Not only am I eating breakfast, but each meal is huge and a clean plate is expected… and often refilled if a quick “mathi!” is not expressed. So, no fear is required; the John you told goodbye was only half of the John that will return in August.
Of particular interest was the first student strike, of which CMS is particularly famous I’m told, during my stay here. You see, student politics are taken more seriously than you can imagine. I’m still unclear as to the particulars, but suffice it to say there are two parties here at CMS (under the direction of legitimate national parties) who allegedly had some kind of (possibly physical) unfriendly exchange and one party, out of concern that the other would beat them to it, called a strike yesterday morning. Naturally, the professors simply don’t teach and all education halts. It’s as simple as that. Also, I’m told that there is no limit on the amount or frequency in which the strikes are called by the students. Naturally, the other party retaliated with their own strike today… welcome to Kerala!
I finally got around to taking some picture of my room:
Simply, my bed and desk. And that’s only half of the room I was provided with!
Part of my bathroom (separate room for my toilet!). Notice the buckets; one I use for laundry, the other is for drawing hot water, and the cup is to remove the suds after I’m squeaky clean.