Monday, October 29, 2012

Elephant Ads

While walking to church Sunday morning, Angela was caught off guard when an elephant came lumbering down the main road, mist the constant honking of motorists, auto rickshaw drivers and scooters.  She tried to capture a front view, but elephants are remarkably quick, so here's a side view.  If you look closely, an ad about some Global business is stenciled on it's side.  I told her she should have pulled on his tail and he might have stopped and let her take his picture.  I'm sure she would have, but she was running late for church.  Maybe next time. 

Let The Sun Shine Through

Since we moved into our apartment, we have only had heavy drapes in the apartment and since our dining room looks right into the dining room of the mission president, we tend to keep them closed most the time and get no light in the apartment.  So we were very happy after weeks of asking, to have the drape maker come and measure for some sheers (at our expense).  In my naivety, I thought, "this is an expert curtain maker, he obviously knows what he's doing".  So he takes measurements and says he will come later in the week to hang them.   On Friday, he comes about 2 pm with the sheers, and the rods.  First off, all the rods are the wrong length, so his assistant sets up shop in the middle of our living room and starts sawing the rods off, leaving metal shavings all over the floor.  Next he realizes, he's forgotten to bring something, so he leaves and comes back about an hour later to start hanging the rods.  As I'm watching, I say to myself, "he really isn't going to hang the sheers there is he? They will hang in the way of the drapes and every time we open the drapes the sheers will drag along."  So I jump in and tell him in my best English why what he is doing isn't going to work and he tells me something in his best Hindi(???).  Again through sign language we get it straightened out where they should be placed.  

After he gets the rods up, he hangs the sheers.  So much for his measurements.  They barely cover the width of the window and as you can see, they are anywhere from 2-3 inches short.   The general contractor, Kuldeep, the Church hired to keep things in repair, says something like, "it covers most the window", while giving me that look that says, "it's close, why are you upset?"
After several days of debating to have him come back and fix them, I have decided to just write about it in the blog and leave them alone (I just don't know what I might get the second time around) Oh well, if it looked good, what would I write about....

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Next Time We'll Take The Elevator

I might have mentioned previously that although we live next door to the Mission Office, we are on the 3rd floor and the Mission Office is on the 4th floor.  We have an elevator that works on and off in our building and the elevator to the Mission Office building is broken.  Each day we trek up and down stairs, hoping as we get to the Mission Office that we don't pass out from lack of oxygen. 

As we leave our apartment each morning, we need to decide do we take the elevator or the stairs.  This morning, we were carrying 4 new pillows and some other supplies to outfit the apartment where sister missionaries will be living in another week (we have never had sister missionaries in India, so this is a pretty big deal having them in our mission).  I start walking down the steps, not even thinking about the elevator.   The steps are made of granite, are somewhat narrow, have a curve lip at the front and always have a super-fine layer of dirt on them (it seems they are never clean), so we always walk very carefully and generally hold the banister, but today, we had all this "stuff" we were taking next door. 

I'm in the lead with Angela close behind.  We get about 6 steps from the bottom and Angela slips and can't catch herself before she hits very hard on her tailbone and hits her arm badly.  While sitting there resting and checking to see if there is any major damage, she says she feels like she is going to pass out.  I tell her to put her head down between her legs.  The next I know is that she has passed out.  I think this is the first time either she or I have passed out.  It was quite scary.  Fortunately, I was in front of her and was able to prevent her from rolling down the remaining steps.  It's true what they say about "dead weight" when someone passes out, and also fortunately she was sitting down when she did.  She was out about 20-30 seconds and then came out of it. 

We sat there for another 5 or 10 minutes and I finally convinced her that she wasn't going to the office and needed to go back to the apartment and lie down.  I helped her up and we went down the last few steps and I pressed the button to get the elevator to take us back up.  As I'm holding her up, she tells me she is again feeling faint, and before I know it, she passes out again.  Again, fortunately, I had 4 pillows that I had thrown on the bottom of the steps and was able to gently lay her down on them.  Having no experience with fainting, it was a little unnerving to see her passed out with her eyes open with a blank stare.  She was out about another 30-40 seconds and then she came too.  She laid on the floor for about 10 minutes before I was able to get her up, in the elevator and back into the apartment and into bed. 

We immediately called the young missionary elders who live close to us and they came over and help me give her a Priesthood blessing that she would make a quick recovery.  She stayed in bed most of the morning, but by 1 pm, she was actually able to get up and walk a little.  While she still has pain where she hit the ground, we would both call her quick recovery miraculous.  Her arm has for the most part quit hurting and she is able to walk without pain.   My challenge now is to convince her that she still needs to take time to recover completely before worrying about her "work" at the mission office.   We are indeed grateful for the Lord blessing her and know that it was through the Priesthood that she has recovered so quickly. 

And next time, we're taking the elevator...

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Missionary Preparation

This is starting to look like all my past journals.  I start out strong, and then before you know it the entries are further and further apart.  I'll try to do better.  I mentioned to someone recently that I started the blog exploring things that are different and unusual here in New Delhi, but the longer we are here the more the unusual becomes normal -  whether it be the constant honking of car horns, cows everywhere you walk or the stark differences between the rich and poor.

 Saturday, we started the first district-wide missionary preparation class.  There is a great desire among the young people here to serve the Lord on a mission, but in many/most cases they are ill-prepared for the schedule, rigor and knowledge necessary to be effective missionaries.  For the short time that we have been here we have seen significant differences in the missionaries that have left for the Manila Philippines MTC.  We currently have 5 missionaries with MTC start dates of December 15 - 4 in New Delhi and one in Nepal.  While we also have missionaries also being called and serving in their home land of Pakistan, we don't have any contact with them, and rely on the indigenous members of that country to prepare them.   
We have 5 enrolled in this first class.  We hold the class in our apartment and have tried to create a teaching environment similar to what they will experience in the mission field.  All of these missionaries will be serving in their own country of India in the India Bangalore Mission which covers the bottom third of the country.  On a side note, it is interesting to see that the Bangalore mission includes only 1/3 of the country whereas our mission includes the top 2/3, as well as Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan.  Of the 4 we have in our class leaving on December 15, one has a passport, two are in the process of getting a passport and one is still trying to get a birth certificate so he can apply.  3 of the 4 are young women.  I'm quite certain that at least one or more will need to have their MTC start date changed due to passport issues.  The last one we have attending is 19 and is attending because she is excited the Church has now dropped the age for young women who want to serve to 19 years old.  We had a great introductory lesson and look forward to working with these young people as they prepare themselves to serve.  We'll keep you posted on how things progress - and who actually will be leaving in December....

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What a Deal!

President Sackley likes the challenge of finding the cheapest haircut he can find.  He doesn't want to pay more than the locals, so he always asking the Indian missionaries where they get their hair cut and how much they paid.   He found a new place that one of the Elders told him about and with the help of his Indian driver was able to negotiate a 25 rupee haircut (my first haircut at what might be close to a US barber was 600 rupees or about $12).  He 'convinced' me that I should go with him.  I kept telling him there's more to a haircut than how much it costs.  He went first, and the barber really went after his hair (which was what President Sackley wanted).  I was up next, with the barber next too him.  My first comment was "not as short as his" pointing to Pres S.  Things were going pretty well until he got to my cowlick.   I tried to explain with hand signs what thinning scissors were, and to my surprise he had some (probably the first time he used them).  Well to make a long story short - with a haircut to match - I won the contest for shortest hair.  Angela said she doesn't remember my hair being this short since she saw my 4th grade picture.   If you take a picture on my 'good side' in a dark room, it doesn't look to bad.  For another 10 rupees, I could have gotten my armpits shaved - but that's a story that best not put in print.