Posted by: janpierce | February 20, 2009

Last Days in India

One of the most colorful things we saw in India was a Mela, or cultural and crafts fair in Haryana,  just out of Delhi. (It takes two hours of intense driving to get through Delhi and into Haryana). The mela took place in a huge fairgrounds and had hundreds of kiosks with offerings from areas all over the country. There was everything from all sorts of clothing and fabric items to shoes, pottery, jewelry, inlaid wood furniture and pictures, etc. There were also dance displays and food booths. We wished we had arrived there earlier because there was so much to see and very little time to enjoy all of it. But we got a taste.

Then it was on to Allahabad and our wonderful visit with David, Diana and Ben Phillips. They have a super-comfortable home there and made us so welcome. I mean they even served us PIZZA and a cabbage salad. Lettuce doesn’t exist in India and that fresh salad really hit the spot. We enjoyed a tour of the city which has many large buildings and institutions from the English occupation years. We also traveled over the Ganges and back, viewing the meeting place of the Ganges and Jumna rivers which I had read about in some of my History of Missions class. It is the spot where a huge Hindu Puja takes place. It happens each year, but once every twelve years is a special one which draws over 32 million people during the month of January. It is hard to believe, but an entire city of little dwellings, shops, etc rises up on the floodplains of the river and serve the people who are making their pilgrimage to bathe in the Ganges which is sacred to them. David told us that many people die during that event and some even plan their suicide by drowning in the Ganges. We really enjoyed our time with David and Diana and were able to meet many of David’s family while there.  What gracious people they are- we felt honored to spend an afternoon with all of them. Our time in Allahabad was short- the time flew by. I had an interesting ride with Diana in a bicycle rickshaw- the poor driver really had to work to haul us through the streets. Made me wish I hadn’t eaten so many chaphatis!

Then we flew back “home” to Hyderabad via Delhi. We had just a couple of days there before heading to the U.S. We had a very special dinner one of those evenings with Dr. and Mrs. B.E. Vijayam. Dr. V. is a noted professor of Geology and is known all over the scientific world, but has used his retirement years as a Christian to develop a training center outside Hyderabad. It focuses on training pastors and others in various courses of Christian study in the mornings and then in practical self-help projects in the afternoons. They have a little working farm with goats, chickens, turkeys, and other birds and animals and lots of agricultural projects, all organic, including composting. They teach grafting and animal husbandry, and have researched the best kinds of plants to grow in the poor soil of India. They sell the things they produce to support their program which is free to the students and includes trips to their homes during the course of their year to practice the things they are learning in classes. It is really a remarkable endeavor and is producing great results for the men and women who attend. It is called TENT ministries and you can google it on the net.

Then, it was time to leave India. The air quality was so bad on our last day in Hyderabad that it was easier to leave than it might otherwise have been.  We traveled a lot on this trip and met some new people who are doing excellent work for their people.  Roger and I both feel that we are on the right track with our new goals in supporting ministries that are becoming independent and really caring for the people. We said our goodbyes to all of our friends all over the country via phone calls and in person to those in Hyderabad. We ate our last Indian meals, packed up all our dirty clothes and headed for the airport. The trip home was very tiring, but we made all of our connections. It took almost two hours to get through security in Mumbai. Since they had the terrorist attacks just a short time ago, they have increased their checkpoints in a very aggressive manner. I actually burst out laughing at the last one as I couldn’t believe there was anything else to x-ray, question, poke or scan. I suppose we were traveling for something over 30 hours. By the end of a trip like that it all blurs together and you just know that there will be an end to it and it will be your own bed! We went to bed at 6:00 p.m. having missed two night’s sleep and crashed for 12 hours. As I write this post at a little after noon, Roger is back in the rack snoozing. We have looked through a month’s worth of mail and shopped for a few groceries and we’re back in business in the beautiful, clean Northwest. It was a really great trip- probably the most exciting ever, but we’re glad to be home.



  1. Hello Jen, What a trip you had! I have a lot to get myself updated on your trip. God bless; Emese

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