Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Saran Kumar

Near our house, there is a place called the “New Boat House”, named the “New Boat House” because it’s newer than the “Old Boat House”.  I love that really.  Well, parking there is nonexistent and I was on my way to get Sydney from school and there was a car that was taking a tremendous amount of time to parallel park.  So, I got impatient and, well, big-headed and went to “roar” around him, in the car/van/can mind you, and had to go on the grass to do so, knowing full well that the grass was wet and quite muddy.  Well, people, I got stuck.  Right in front of the car that I was impatient with.  Humbled is the first word that should come to your mind.  Well, I couldn’t get out without a bit of assistance.  It took eight men, four rocks, 10 minutes and at the end, them actually lifting the right side of the car/van/can out of the mud.  To add to the story, since that time, whenever the car/van/can hits any sort of hole, the horn automatically beeps,  reminding me to be drive with patience and humility.  

This week we were able to share in a really special time with a 14-year-old boy named Saran Kumar.  His dad passed away in 1999, his mom ran away after that, and he has been living with his brothers and grandmother since.  Someone in his family gave him a small plot of land.  Probably 12 feet by 6 feet.  And we helped build a house for him and his grandmother.  The gentleman that introduced us says he is a hard worker, a good student, and soft-spoken.  Saran’s grandmother is nearly blind and quite aged, but strong in spirit, you could tell.  Jayson was especially taken with him and is so thankful to have been a part of Saran’s life for this brief time.  

So, we have been selling some of our things, and I took a few pictures to make a wee flyer to go around.  I am showing you some of the pictures to make you feel better about your own picture taking.  A lot of the pictures were taken when the kids were sleeping and I didn’t want to turn on lights or make much noise, so I just snapped and fled. 

After this photo was taken, we realized that we cannot sell this dog house. Maybe for firewood. 
Why try to sell the "potential", when you can sell the "reality"? 
Our heater has a strong resemblance to Wall-E.
I wasn't joking when I said the kids were sleeping when I snapped some photos, because James was dead asleep when I took this one. By the way, I'm highlighting the "mattress" in this photo.
Nothing about this photo is right - It's an awkward angle, the top edge of the radiator is off the photo, and there's underwear draped over it.
No need to get the water container down from the storage shelf...just point and shoot. 

The parenting class that I have been a part of with the two moms in the aftercare program has come to an end.  I have been with them for nearly 1 1/2 years and can hardly believe that I said goodbye.  I knew we were going to eventually finish once I left, but they decided to leave with their kids to go work elsewhere nearer to family.  I kind of got this panicky feeling when I knew they were leaving.  They are safer with Freedom Firm, not completely of course, but safer than the rice factory that they were going to work at.  The kids are safer with us keeping an eye on them.  I don’t know how to end this paragraph, because I don’t know entirely how I feel on the subject.  

All for now from Ooty, India.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Marshmallow Cricket

I love this shot of Jovie. Shopping at the "Eight Market" with Anik, Yuimi, and Jovie.  Don't mind the blue tint, the market is entirely under blue tarps. 
Yuimi and one of the many piles of clothes at the Eight Market.
I am feeling all a bit overwhelmed as I sit down to write this blog.  It has been three weeks since I wrote last.  Three weeks.  I am such a slacker. I also have an incredible sweet tooth currently.  Today, I have consumed at least 4.2 pounds of sugar.  I am also sitting in front of a fire and am squinting  my eye that faces the fire because I fear that my retina will be sizzled and the right side of my body is 20 degrees hotter than the left.  In short, I am a slacker, sugar-aholic, and I am about to combust because my internal temperature is rising to about 212 degrees Fahrenheit.  We are off to a great start people. 

Where did I last leave you...? Oh, that’s right, I had just told you about Jayson’s resignation.  No small piece of news there.  I have struggled to know how much to write about our story of going home.  Mostly because I don’t want that part of us to distract you and me from staying present in our current home.  Home being India.  Home being working hard for girls that need support and advocacy.  Home being  where the kids go to an amazing international school.  Home being where we feel content “being” until we step on the plane.  Home being a place where we feel sad at the thought of leaving our friends,  our vocational passion, and the place that has helped form the family of six that we are and that we like.  So, I will write about our feelings about our transition, because it is a very real part of us; a part of our journey.  And we just would like it if you continue to walk this road with us.  It’s taken twists and turns that we could have never imagined. 

Two weeks ago we had our Freedom Firm retreat.  It’s an event that Jayson plans and thoroughly enjoys.  It is so fun watching people who take their job very seriously and work really hard doing it, sharing meals, playing, listening, and relaxing together.  I think my favorite part was watching the investigators/operatives (the guys that go into the brothels for the rescues) playing “Marshmallow Cricket”.   Another highlight of the retreat was having Gretchen and Pat right next door to our family.  Gretchen is the U.S. Director and Pat is her mom.  Pat was at the retreat last year with her husband Denny, who was the speaker.  Their family, on the whole, has been significant to Freedom Firm over the years.  When I said right next door...there was half a wall dividing us.  And when Jayson was out with one of the staff and I had a frog/spider emergency in the bathroom with the kids, all I had to do was shout.  When I was trying to calmly tuck the kids into bed on Friday night, we went to go brush teeth and there were three frogs staring at us.  Now, in the great, wide open my kids go wild for frogs.  But in the bathroom at night, the kids and I were just not really all that excited about our bathroom companions.  And I didn’t have any spirit in me to catch them, so Gretchen and Pat came over to save the day and in the process, Jayson heard all of our shouting from across the way and came to see what the ruckus was about.  Gretchen did the initial frog find and then Pat went in to finish the job with Jayson, and in the meantime also found a jungle spider as big as my face.  Awesome.  Needless to say, that night I slept with a scarf wrapped around my face and head, a little wary of any more friends wanting to join our family of six.

Leah, Achi, Sunayana, Gretchen, and Pat at the retreat.
The Freedom Firm staff with families. 
Jayson and the jungle spider. I get the heeby-jeebies just looking at this picture.
The staff playing games at the retreat. 
Since the retreat, I think I have found my feet again.  I was a bit beat after our resignation and retreat.  I/we felt weary.  Which is to be expected.  I anticipate those feelings to circle more than a few times.   We have slept a lot, watched movies, and tried to keep our schedule light.  Another way that we have tried to rejuvenate a bit is to do some Explooting...  Of course, it’s really what the doctor does order.  Our friend Adam, from the States, has been up in Calcutta for a bit of time (working with Word Made Flesh) and came down to visit us last weekend.  So, we thought we would show in a good ol’ fashioned time in Ooty.  We took him to a dam.  Of course. Why not?  And then a lake which we took a boat ride around, and then to some waterfalls.   As I write that, it does sound a bit pathetic really.  At the time though, I was pretty pumped.  And Adam is very gracious.  A good combination. 

Adam and the Palm Six on the lake. And yes, Sydney does feel compelled to strike a pose in every photo she's in. 
Ani and Susai by the beautiful waterfall in Pikara.
I am encountering the time in the blog that I am aware that if I write any more, it will seem a bit over the top.  So I will leave you and hope that you are off to a great start to your week.  Until next time...