Posted by: janpierce | November 7, 2013

A Banjara Jathra

A Banjara Jathra

Roger and Bill are with Nehemiah Naik in Anantapur. Nehemiah and his wife Sarah are Banjara people–the original Gypsies. Their people were below caste and were known as makers of alcohol and thieves. Today Nehemiah and Sarah have the respect of their community as they feed and house those with disabilities, widows, orphans and HIV victims. Nehemiah travels widely teaching the principles of the Bible. He is able to teach outside the Banjara group to people of many different castes and tribes.

In this picture you see a Banjara Jathra–a gathering of the people. Jathra is a Bengali word meaning journey or going. Notice the woman in traditional red dress with the plastic bracelets. Those bracelets used to be made of bone. The fabric of the outfit is embellished with many tiny pieces of mirrored material. It’s a very heavy outfit to wear.

Teams India supports the education of Nehemiah and Sarah’s three children. The two girls are high school age and little Roger is now ten years old. Nehemiah’s vision is to become self-supporting and they’ve learned to harvest their own rice crops to feed their people. They live a simple life devoid of the comforts we take for granted, but they’re totally dedicated to their work and take great joy in service to their people.

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