Friday, October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday, let's eat!

Happy Birthday to Gandhi, and Happy Birthday to Me!

Coincidentally, Gandhi and I share the same birthday: October 2nd. This is a national holiday in India so the center was closed. Kristin (my roommate) and a visitor in town, Melissa, made my birthday very fun. On Monday night (October 1), in true American fashion, we had some people over and ate Domino’s pizza (there's one here in town believe it or not) and chocolate cake. The next day, on my birthday, we watched Juno, relaxed, and went out to dinner. I got to ride Kristin’s scooter for the first time. It was so fun! Melissa owns a non-profit organization that teaches women in developing countries how to make soap and then helps them make businesses out of it. (To check out the Nourish Collective, click here). She actually holds the Guinness world record for the largest bar of soap. So, we also made soap. I had no idea making soap was so hard but it sure does take a lot of oils, a lot of stirring, and a lot of time. Everything coming together is really cool.

Soap making! 
The sweet birthday present from Kristin and Melissa. A candle inside illuminates Ganesh. 
Kristin got this for me, but when we opened it everything was backwards. It was totally perfect for India. 

The DELICIOUS birthday cake. 

Earlier this week on Sunday we went to go feed the kids again in Lakhotokia. Unfortunately, their houses have been knocked down by the government AGAIN, and a barbed wire fence has been put up around the temple where we serve the food. This effectively blocks the entrance to the area where the homeless people gather the materials to rebuild their homes. The government just doesn't want them to rebuild. When we were there on Sunday, sure enough nobody had rebuilt. Fortunately, the kids were all still there and we successfully fed and played with them. At one point, I had 5 kids around me all wanting to get on my lap. Their faces when they see you make me want to go down there everyday and after 4 Sundays of going down there, I have already fallen in love with so many of them.

Melissa and Laura (our two guests for the weekend) making the food. 

I thought I might tell you how I get my food. There is an open-air market a five-minute walk away from my apartment, which I am very grateful for. And there are various stores around the market. So this is the journey:

1. I stop at Loyan’s bakery (which has delicious desserts) for a loaf of bread.

2. I stop at the Dimpa store. This is the “grocery store” and has everything you ever need in one TINY area, about the size of someone's large master bedroom. It’s unbelievable. From toiletries to clean up supplies to drinks and food, it is the Kroger of Guwahati. Every time I walk in there, I find something new.

3. Off to get my eggs! They are located in the open-air market right across the street from the Dimpa store. There are both pigeon eggs, and regular eggs from chickens.

4. Now to the veggies in the market. I have learned which guy has the good onions and which guy has good cucumbers, and which guy has good tomatoes etc. I also get my bananas from here too.

5. I may, or may not, stop on the way back and get a 20-cent chocolate tart from Loyans, just for kicks.

The walk from my apartment to the market. 

The walk from my apartment to the market. 

For breakfast, I usually have some cereal, an egg, and a banana. For lunch, we have Subways on Wednesdays, or I eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or rice with dal. For dinner, Kristin and Rosie and I make various things. Pasta and tomato sauce, rice and veggies, lentils, etc. We also go out for dinner at places nearby, and never spend more than $2 US. The food can get you really sick, so you must be very careful. In fact, the biggest security issue when you come here really is not crime, but the health of your stomach. I have been taking it very slowly and my stomach has been handling it quite well. Kristin and my roommate Rosie can eat everything--their stomachs have adjusted. I am just going to keep taking it slow. Boiling the vegetables, peeling the vegetables etc.

Sending smiles from India,

P.S. Click here to read an article that the Silchar mission program coordinator wrote.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for sharing both your daily routine and the exceptional adventures like the mission trip - what a truly excellent adventure you are having!

    Belated happy birthday wishes.