This is a day I will never forget. We took off for the tribal village where the Panvel church, in relationship to Immanuel Church is building a community center. The goals will be to provide regular medical care, job and skills training and educational opportunities that otherwise would not exist for this population. I'm learning a lot about the different aspects of Indian society. There are slums and there are tribal villages where those who are very poor find their dwelling. The tribal areas do not receive support from the government and that is one reason why the church here is
seeking to bring hope through service.
We had three different things going on today. A children's program that included games, crafts, and singing. A meal was being cooked by the villagers to share with all. And we were able to set up a mobile clinic where a medical Dr. and an optometrist were present. One member of our team is a nurse and she helped the Dr. while another team member took copious notes, wrote down diagnoses and made notes about the medicines that were needed.
I was mainly located with the children's program and was deeply impressed by our team and the children. The kids were shy at first but after we began singing and engaging them, it did not take them a long time to warm up! Their joy was contagious and delightful. They loved the crafts and worked with great care on their dolls made from toilet paper tubes! They were so proud of the end result! They were also particularly delighted with the game time. They loved the chasing game that our team explained to them. The teenage boys on the team did an outstanding job playing with the kids. The singing was a delight. They repeated the words very well and enjoyed the actions. We are especially grateful to our translators. It is very hard to not speak their language but smiles do communicate a lot! They loved saying hello and bye bye.
The day ended with the shared lunch. The kids ate a lot and I think it may have the most they have had to eat in quite some time. We also handed out hygiene bags to each woman, explaining how to use some basic tools for better health. The kids received a gift bag as well with crayons, pencils, some coloring books, eraser and pencil sharpener. Their joy and gratitude were simply humbly.I love this photo of this little boy, who sat nearby, taking it all in.
The day ended in a totally different way! It just so happens that the major outdoor studio sets for Bollywood films is very close to this tribal village! The pastor of the Panvel Church has developed a nice relationship with the owner of the studios and they can bring people by to have a look at any time! We had a good time wandering around the gorgeous grounds and looking at the funny building sets. It just so happened that they were filming an ad for a major holiday and we got to see a bit of what was happening. Here I am with one of the actors!
What a day! Loved being in the village and feeling like we had made a connection with the people living there. The children's faces are etched in my mind. I am so thankful for the great hard work of our team and the joy of serving together. We're halfway through our journey! I wonder what awaits us!