Yesterday's lunch at Yesu's house was excellent, and it just shows how much of an impact our bizarre eating habits have had on him. We had boiled veg (no seasoning) and chicken 65 . I think his father was pretty horrified, but we ate it all - too much - so that's alright. Indians always say 'no' when offered anything, which explains why we always get more when we don't want any. Idayavani said that when she went to Sellyoak she was told to always say what she wanted. If you say no to a cup of tea you won't get one! Here, the host has to keep pushing, because everybody says no the first time.
The Rev said he'd come round this morning to tell us about the church projects in Ramnad. He's going to take us round again (like he did in November) so we can take pictures. Well C. can, I'm not sure that I'm going to do that much as far as 'twinning' with a church goes. We haven't done anything with the church our whole time here. Our commitment is to the schools. C.'s got £100 that he's going to give to Rev Jothinayagam for the Pamban fishermen.
But all this is old hat and just part of the problem which is: WHY are we here? Is it USPG1, to do their work and re-establish links with the SPG churches here? The Bishop seems to think so. Or is it for the experience, the friendship and the holiday? An altogether cushier number and perhaps more selfish option. It's made a big impact on each of our lives in different ways and I don't know how to categorise it. It's been:
- A Learning experience. But how can I use this knowledge of the culture, the history, the church, the people?
- A cultural experience. I've adapted my deeply ingrained habits and customs to live more comfortably in this culture, to be accepted. But what good will it do me in England? Except while entertaining Indian guests?
- A sobering experience. I've been re-awakened to the needs of the third world and by being invited into people's homes have been closer to them than any tourist. This has helped me to see them as human as I am and not just some picture on TV to sympathize with.
- Working experience? Not really. For me anyway. more fun, I'd play my guitar anywhere.
- Friendship. The most important. Without Yesu and Jerry we'd have left long ago. They (and all our other friends) have made the whole thing so much more worthwhile. Even if we do nothing about it, we'll still have these very special memories, whatever happens.
- And fun. But where's the Church is all this? Okay, I admit we went to church once or twice but there wasn't exactly a big involvement or any real acceptance. Oh well.
- the introduction for details