Posted by: janpierce | November 21, 2010

Not Your Typical Traffic Jams and Village Life

Today rather than attending the local church where we’ll be teaching later, we were driven two hours out into the countryside to visit and share with two groups of believers in remote villages. These places are in farm areas and the villagers are day laborers in the fields. One of the villages has a school, the other doesn’t. The buildings are a combination of mud structures and some brick mixed in. The little roads wind around and the goats and pigs live right along with the people. They gather in a little common area and sit on tarps on the floor. There were lots of children, some young people, lots of women and a few old men. Most of the men were working in the fields as this is harvest time. There were flies, head lice, jaundiced eyes and all the rest of what comes with poverty, but there were also shy smiles, enthusiastic singing (pix to come soon) and real interest in hearing about a good shepherd who loves his flock and a testimony of a bad boy who was changed at age 35 when he actually met that good shepherd. By the end of the sharing time there was a great sense of community amongst all the group and then we prayed for people. Most concerns of the women were ailments of all kinds: eyes, ears, aches and pains. One woman gestured to me that her husband was beating her. Some of the little girls, all serious and big-eyed came for various sicknesses too. It was an intense time and I felt drained when we were done, but it was strangely sweet too. And for those of you who know me well, it is a stretch for me to expect healings and miracles, yet I prayed with everything in me to see those happen today.

Now, you’re wondering about the traffic jams. We hit them going both directions on the highway from Allahabad that goes all the way to Delhi, some 650 km. away. It’s a paved road and all the trucks and buses have to travel it along with cars, horse drawn carts, bicycles, pedicabs and every other vehicle you can think of including hand cycled wheelchairs of the handicapped. ( I saw a bunch of those today).When there is heavy traffic everyone just goes on the other side of the road to pass and when the big ones go sideways and cut off the smaller vehicles there is literally nowhere to move. We sat in some spots for a very long time while everyone tried to move inch by inch past one another. I could have sworn we’d be scratched and banged up, but except for losing a lot of time there were no damages. The upside of the situation was great people-watching–the vendors, the children, the beautiful women in sari, the dogs, pigs, goats, cows–the vegetable markets and all the shops. We also got a tour of a lot of countryside and watched harvesting of bananas, pulses (made into dal) and shocks of wheat, as we drove around trying to miss the next snarl of traffic. We got lost, but Indian men stop and ask directions! See? I did witness a miracle today!

Tomorrow I start my classes with the group of Hindi-speaking young women. We’re still waking up about four in the morning, so I’m heading for bed now. I’ll post some pictures tomorrow.

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