Posted by: janpierce | February 20, 2008

Beginning the Trek Home

We just arrived in Hyderabad and are settling into our hotel room – the good old Heritage. We are in a “deluxe” room and guess what? It really seems deluxe! It is large and clean and there is a t.v., small refrigerator, even a bathtub which we don’t plan on using.
Our farewells at the orphanage were really hard with lots of tears all around. In two months we bonded closely with many of the children and staff members and we don’t know when we may see them again. The children especially are like little sponges soaking up any love and attention given them so they hated to see their tata (grandfather) leaving. No more hugs for them.
As some of you know there has been a really bad fever spreading through the hostel. It causes high temperatures, chills and serious upper respiratory problems. There were a few cases all through our visit, but last week a great number of people came down with it and a steady stream of children have been sent to the hospital for IV’s. When the children become seriously ill they are sent to their family members if they have any, for recuperation. The hostel doesn’t have proper facilities or staff to care for them. So quite a few children have left for a week or two. They will receive rest and herbal remedies back in their villages.
Krupalatha, Krupa for short, was one of my students and a really sweet 7th grade girl. She is our adopted granddaughter’s best friend and I tutored both of them in English in the evenings. We went to see Krupa the other night because we heard she “had fever” and we were really startled to see how sick she was. She was delirious and burning up. So we arranged to have a pedicab take her to the hospital and before it arrived two more girls were brought out who were just as ill. One girl was so weak she had to be carried. At the very moment that we opened the gates, an ambulance drove by. In two months I had never seen an ambulance on that road, but we stopped it and were able to send the girls to the hospital directly. We were amazed at that happening and were feeling very grateful for the timing. All the girls were called together and asked if they had any “idols” in their possession. I was picturing big metal animal shapes or something like that but what began to come out were necklaces, bracelets, stones or other objects given to them by friends and family members of tribal groups. I thought how confusing it must be for these children to learn about one true God in the hostel and then to be taught all kinds of other beliefs when relatives come or when they visit their home villages. Curses, hexes, good and bad luck beliefs abound. One of the girls who gave up an amulet worn as a necklace went into a deep spiritual attack shortly after. It was both frightening and interesting because we don’t often see the battles of darkness and light in the states. Little Krupa is better and went home yesterday. We met her parents – very humble village people who had to take a bus for 4 or 5 hours to come to get their little girl. Mike and Sharon Monson will be paying for Krupa to attend English Medium school beginning in June. Her parents were very grateful. The fees would not be possible for them but amount to about $15 a month for us. Krupa is very bright and if she can stay in school her future job could change the life of her family.
The week before all these occurances I sat and watched a Hindu ceremony for several hours. These are what are called “auspicious days” in the Hindu calendar. It is a good time to begin a new business, dedicate a new home, bless children, etc. and certain goddesses are honored. The ceremonies always begin with a march around the area with loud drumming and usually carrying offerings of fruit and grains. After circling the hostel area three times they came to a place right next to us and performed a long ceremony involving fires, digging holes and placing branches inside, pouring a liquid, some chants and more drumming. I tried to watch the people to gauge their emotions during the rituals. Several old women seemed to give directions and squabbled over the correct procedures. Young men were drummers and seemed only mildly interested – sometimes laughing and joking during the hour or so it took to do it all. There was one man who seemed to actually perform the rites. Hard to believe that such things are taking place all around the world today. I would be willing to bet that some of those people were carrying cell phones. It is a peculiar meeting of old and new, tradition and change that we have been witnessing here.
So now we will meet with friends in the city and have some time for reflection before heading home. There is a lot to process.



  1. Jan & Roger: We have been praying, can’t wait to see you back, safe and sound. Love you guys, Carmy & Jim

  2. Thank you so much for keeping us up to date on your adventures. Our hearts and prayers are with you as you come home.

  3. Hi Jan,

    Can’t wait for you to be home, but am humbled by your ability to write about your experience.

    God Speed,

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