Case of the Mondays

Well my friends, it’s official, Monday’s are difficult no matter what half of the world you are on. Sunday night I arrived in Pune after a looooong bus ride. After navigating the seemingly always busy city on the public busses and rickshaws we finally reached the house around 11pm. I was able to sleep a few hours before waking up to try to wash some of my dust caked clothes in the bucket from my room. Those rickshaws and busses kick up a hefty amount of dirt!! Doing the laundry this morning was actually very peaceful (kind-of like washing the dishes, Milli 🙂 ) and the quiet time was much needed before the heat and busyness began.
For some reason when I left for work this morning, my confidence started to melt. I guess I was still struggling with some things I experienced over the weekend. I haven’t been able to talk out these concerns with anyone yet because of the language barrier, so guess what… I’m going to do a little reflecting here…Hang on tight…
One of the main things I’ve been wrestling with today is the extreme material poverty. How do I effectively respond to this? When I was waiting in the bus station in Aurangabad on Sunday a women came (crawled) up to me asking for money. I don’t know why she was unable to walk, but her feet were bandaged and her legs were twisted up like a pretzel. She had scars from some-sort-of burn on her neck, which seemed to have made it impossible for her to speak. No one took notice of her. I was boarding the bus when she came up to me. I wish I could say that I nealt down and gave her my food that I had, but I unfortunately didn’t. This is not a response that I’m proud of, and feel pretty small when thinking about it. I’ve been shown so much hospitality and generosity since I got here, and will admit that I haven’t reciprocated that very well..
I’m noticing more and more that there is still a significant separation between different societal classes here. Like I mentioned, India is rich in hospitality and generosity, but some people, depending on their class, are still descriminated against. As I experience more and more of this reality I feel, yet again, small in the midst of such a large and established struggle.
I know that I came to India as a learner and observer, but I can’t help wanting to participate more. I am struggling with my inability to communicate and am wondering how in the world I’m going to be able to be an active part of this community for this month. I have learned throughout these past few years, especially this past week, that no challenge that a person is given is too big to handle, so I guess that means I will look at this opportunity here in India as a way to learn how to use what little skills I have to help where I can. When I was writting this I was reminded of a quote from a women who traveled to India by herself when she also was very young. She said, “We all can’t do great things, but small things with great love.” So after much reflection (thanks guys for hanging in there), eventhough I’m still feeling pretty “small” tonight, I will not get overwhelmed with the enormity of the need her in India or in other places I will visit, but I’ll try to take on each opportunity with great love.
On the lighter side of things… Here are a few fun cultural facts:
1.) Sari’s are still commonly worn by the women, epecially in the country side. The colors and patterns are b.e.a.utiful. In the city more and more women are wearing jeans and t-shirts, but scarfs are usually still worn over the shoulders or wrapped around their heads to keep shaded from the hot sun.
2.) Pune has the highest density of motorcycles in India. There are no driving schools, so it’s basically learn as you go. The streets are chaos!!


2 thoughts on “Case of the Mondays

  1. I was very glad to see you return to your blog. Now I realize how busy you were. Do not be too discouraged by your observations into a new culture. It is God’s way of opening our eyes to what he sees everyday. It helps us to engage our faith either by conversation, prayer, reflection, or study. I love the way you say we can do a little with big love! You are doing and learning a lot. It will take time to understand it. I pray you have another amazing week. Please go with a buddy!! Love mom

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