Saturday, January 24, 2009

Day 11--Saying Goodbye

Today was the last day for the women's retreat.  It has been a huge success beyond our wildest dreams.  So many women ready to take charge and bring Christ to their homes and their villages.  Judy had the honor of giving the last session.  Because these women live in a dangerous society believing what they believe, Judy inspired them to go forward with courage.

The men had another day to relax.  I had the great opportunity to observe cataract surgery at the Eye Hospital.  Fifty patients that were screened yesterday at the eye camp had their surgery today.  Dr. Hema Bindu is the ophthalmologist on staff here at the hospital.  She performed the first 8 surgeries, but because she is in her first trimester of pregnancy, another doctor from a local village came to help.  I was amazed at how this facility can do so much with so little.  Dr. Bindu asked if I wanted to help do the surgeries, but I had to decline.  I have it so easy in the U.S. and I take it for granted when it comes to all of the technology we have to perform this delicate surgery.  I feel I would only slow this well oiled machine down.

For lunch we had goat, only this time the goat came to us alive. The unfortunate part of this is that "Blackie", as we lovingly named him, was adorable. He frolicked as he ate leaves from a low tree.  He danced around and smiled at us.  We fed him by hand and then the time came.  We watched with heavy hearts as the butchers led him to the slaughter. Mark watched as they led Blackie to the back part of the lot. The butchers had knife in hand as they knelt over Blackie and turned him on his back.  Mark couldn't take it!  He walked away sad because of the horror that befell Blackie. While I, Brian, again watched with sick pleasure. -Brian

After lunch, we had the distinct pleasure of experiencing a snake charmer.  This time, he brought 4 cobras and they were extra feisty.  Just seconds out of the basket and they were attacking each other.  Hissing and bobbing and weaving at one another.  After the snakes calmed down a little, most of the men had to prove their manhood by holding one of the cobras by its tail.  Dr. Larry seemed to have the most to prove, although he looked good holding the cobra while wearing his new ladies scarf.  He says he bought them for the staff...but he's wearing them too much with his new manbags!

Later, all the women got tattoos...henna tattoos.  A new and exciting experience.  Also, a few of us took a ride around the block on a bicycle rickshaw.  These are three wheeled bikes with a seat for two behind the driver.  

As we all pack our bags and prepare for the overnight train ride, we can't help but feel sad as we have all made great friends here.  We have been pampered and fed well and every day was a new and emotional experience.  I can speak for all of us when I say we all love India.  Our heart felt THANKS to David and Sheela Lall--you are awesome!  Thanks Godfather for everything; every request met with a smile and a nod--until next year!  Thanks to the most amazing, most organized, most hospitable, woman in India!  You are the heart of India! 

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