Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers,
but to be fearless in facing them.
Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain,
but for the heart to conquer it.

- Rabindranath Tagore

Inspirational Music

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Train Route

Board at Kalyan deboard at Arakkonam


कैलेब (kay-le-b)
That's how I woud write my name in Devanagari script. The same is used to write Hindi. So far, I've just been learning the script and a few words here and there. It's exciting to be able to read signs on the road. The problem is being able to pronounce and knowing what I'm pronouncing are very different things. It's a start.

I stayed with a lady named Mrs. Nanthur the last 3 nights. She is an incredibly generous lady and tried to stuff me to the gills at every meal. She lives in a place closer to the clinic called Vasant Vihar. I still just take an auto (rickshaw) everyday.

Almost able to see over the Trees
Yesterday, we had a staff retreat of sorts. We got to go into the Sanjay Gandhi National Park a ways and enjoyed the beautiful nature there together. We had a half hour on our own during which I began an ascent of the first Hill going up to the top. I took a picture, it was not a very high position but it was fun to climb/hike a bit.

Tuesday morning I got to see the HIV antibody tests performed. I was a lab assistant for Genetics this semester and performed many different experiment. It was a little odd to think about how unimportant the experiment I did during the semester were in comparison to this. All that we did in that lab was set up to demonstrate, that's it, no real consequences; the results of this ELISA (enzyme linked immunosorbent assay) were reality for the people who gave the samples to be tested. It was sobering. Terribly simple process to prove that someone has HIV.

 I went on my own down into Mumbai that afternoon to pick up the book I ordered from OM books. It was a bit of an adventure. The public transportation system though is incredibly useful!

Monday, Anthony Wheaton, from Australia was visiting the clinic. I spent the whole day talking with him and meeting with different individuals in the clinic. He is on the tail end of his trip here and it was great to hear about the different things he's seen since throughout India.

Sunday, I went with the Andrews to church down in Powai. The service was performed by the children's/youth ministries. Basically their Christmas play. Kea was Jairus's daughter. It was fun to see something a little more familiar but also a good reminder that this season should not be void of truth or meaning. We ate visited a mall where I was able to find maps of Mumbai and Chennai. This is the 4th time to India and I just now got maps. In any case, they are very helpful to put together the big picture of where I am and how that relates to where I need to go. We also went to an Italian restaurant! It was nice to have a bit more familiar food. Later that evening we went to a much larger outdoor Christmas program. Kea had more parts in this one, including Mary, a verse reading, and a part in a choir. There was also a skit that included the Bombay Scottish School's choir singing a version of Lifehouse's "Everything." All in all it was a great Sunday with the Andrews Family. That night I moved to Mrs. Nanthur's on the way back from Powai.

Packed house for Thanksgiving Celebration
Saturday was even more filled than Sunday. It was the annual Thanksgiving Celebration for the Positive Friends of JSK. It was on the grounds of a school, not unlike those at Uddamarri. Many people shared their stories and the grace that they've seen in their lives. It was incredible to hear from the staff the stories behind many of the people present. There were numerous individuals that were in the last stages of the disease when JSK met them and saw them through incredible recoveries!

From the Arabian Sea to the Bay of Bengal!
Tonight, I'll be getting on a train to Chennai! I'm very very excited to travel across India by rail! I hope to upload pictures and videos as soon as I get the chance but that may take time to find internet there. I will be travelling through the night for most of the west side of the country but I'll get a lot more view in the morning. There will be plenty of views with daylight on the back-end of the trip. Also on the return trip I'll get a bit of daylight here on the west side of the country. I'm excited to get to spend Christmas with my roommate and a few other friends from the states!

Monday, December 20, 2010

PIctures on hold

I am now writing from a cyber cafe. They refuse to let me plug in my laptop to the internet so I cannot upload the pictures or videos from the Thanksgiving Celebration on Saturday. I'm peeved to say the least.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Chutes and Ladders

So I played Chutes and Ladders today with Asha and Enoch. (Asha won in 4 rolls) This is the craziest board I have ever seen!

So apparently if you get jacked in the face you end up at the bottom of the board. Or if you get hit by a car from chasing a ball into the street. I couldn't believe it.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Rest Day

Well, today I took a rest. I spent the day just relaxing. It was nice to just be sedentary. The semester ended with a great uproar and lack of sleep. I transitioned from that to a very active schedule via a journey half-way around the world in 27 hours. It was nice to ease off the accelerator.

The pictures are from the flat of the family that i is hosting me until the end of this week. The Andrews are incredibly generous and I am so thankful for their hospitality. Dr. Marise Andrews works at the clinic with the rest of the team, I've been able to learn a great deal from her!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Short and Sweet

I will be keeping it short today as I'm exhausted.

I was able to spend almost the entire day at the clinic shadowing! It's what I came for and I'm very glad to be getting down to business. I'm also attempting to learn a bit of Hindi. It's very interesting but slow going.

Keep my in your thoughts and prayers. This has been a bit more taxing than I expected. I'm not sure if it's jet-lag still or maybe semester-lag but I seem to reach the end of the day only by clawing my way to it.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Monday 12/13/2010

I GOT TICKETS! I'll be spending Christmas in Chennai! I'm very excited!

A friend, Anil, went with me to get them. He works down in Mumbai so he was willing to help me out. It took almost two hours to reach V.T. station from Thane and then we had to wait in the queue for another 45 minutes and then it was smooth sailing. The man at the counter was very helpful and patient so the process was over in 10 minutes. Then we went to the OM Books for a short time where I got to speak with Blessen (spelling?) who I met the last time I was in Mumbai. Then I took the train back to Thane on my own and Anil went to his office. All in all it took most of the day and was very exhausting for me but well worth the cost! This picture shows the distance:

I continue to be amazed by the cool weather. Anil told me that it is very odd for it to be this cold in December. I guess I lucked out. All of the people here, though, are not used to temperatures in the 70's.

I won't be putting a large number of photos up because they are very on edge about westerners taking pictures after the terrorist attacks. However, this one was easy enough to snap. I was waiting for an auto (rickshaw) in a huge queue and saw this elephant. I'm not sure why it was there or anything but it was in the middle of a very populated area. I actually have not seen many elephants over all the trips I've made to anywhere in India so it was cool to see one.

Ok, so i'm still stoked about taking a train from one coast of india to the other! that and spending Christmas with my roommate Josh! I've never been to Chennai either. Many good things! I'm thankful that God allowed me to get a ticket!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Sunday 12/12/2010

Wow, just thinking about all that happened since Friday is boggling my mind. I hope I can get it all down.

I give up....just kidding.

So i'll start with what's on my mind. I have a friend who is going to be in Chennai over the December as well. I had originally planned on trying to fly there for Christmas but ticket prices are outrageous at the moment. So I am going tomorrow to V.T. station way down in Mumbai (yes the one on Slumdog Millionaire) to see if there are any seats open on a train. Andi has told me that there are quotas for tourists on each train and he believes i should be able to get tickets. So please pray for that, I would really like to see my friend for Christmas not to mention travel from one coast of India to the other by rail.

I also had my first home visit yesterday. I was able to visit with another staff member from JSK with an elderly gentleman for almost 2 hours. He has quite a long list of medical problems but was in good spirits overall. It was very stretching to be put in that situation so quickly but I am thankful for the experience and being able to be an encouragement to this man. I look forward to seeing him in the clinic soon.

Ah, Friday night, i knew something happened friday night. I was able to share my experiences over the past two years with a large home church group that Andi is a part of. I don't even care that i ended that sentence with a preposition. It was very encouraging to many of the people there and I am glad I had enough time to share some of the details that normally get left out.

I'm becoming familiar with the area. I could walk to the clinic from where I'm staying if I had the inclination. It is a few kilometers though and I don't want to put my legs through that rigor. My point is i know where I am and where it is. i love how india is so urban and dense. the streets are always lively and also hard to navigate but not impossible.

Oh and the weather! The weather is simply amazing! I have never experienced weather this beautiful in India! It might have gotten into the 80's but not by much. I wake up in the morning and its cool. I feel like I'm on vacation or something. The food is also cooler here. I guess when they say that food in Hyderabad is really hot even for India standards is true. I think it was good to start there then because now the food I eat tastes really good and is not too spicy for me.

My legs are doing very well and holding up despite increased activity. I get quite a bit more walking in here than when I was at school and I was half a block from classes.

I've been blessed to be able to spend a lot of time with Andi and his family! I really enjoy spending time getting to know each of them.

Well, i'm going to bed now. have a great day (i chuckled as i wrote that)


Friday, December 10, 2010

India December 2010/ January 2011

Hello all,

I have not attempted to use this blog for a long time. I guess I find it difficult to slow down and write about what I'm doing most of the time. However, I was very encouraged by a friend before leaving that I should not fail to record at least some of my experience here this time. I believe he was right and will be making an attempt to record and reflect on my experience here.

So for starters my semester finished on Tuesday with an exam in Calculus II from 10am-12pm. I walked out of that exam feeling like I failed. I spoke with a few professors about other grades and found that I had done well in all of my other classes. Then I went home and realized HOLY CRAP I'M LEAVING FOR INDIA TOMORROW! So I began to write down a list of stuff that I would need here. Then I started packing, yes, I pack for month long international travel the night before...and it hasn't failed me yet. I spent all night awake in hopes of flipping my sleep schedule with the flights over. I've yet to figure out if it was successful. I flew out of Chattanooga at 9:50am on Wednesday arrived in Detroit and had a few hour layover which was incredibly uneventful. Flew to Amsterdam with another long boring layover. (travel is incredibly boring when its alone) was delayed in Amsterdam and then arrived in Mumbai at 1 something AM on Friday morning. I was very happy to be greeted with a large sign with my name on it this time. (last time I flew into Mumbai I was lost by the people that were to pick me up and had to find them on my own the next day) This morning I woke up around 9:30 and went to the clinic which is very close and only a few minutes by rickshaw.

Currently, I'm staying with a family. The Andrews. Mareez (spelling?) is a pediatrician that volunteers her time at the clinic twice a week. They generously offered their host me for a bit while here. I also was able to visit Andi and Sheba's home and meet Asha and Enoch their children. Today has been eventful enough for a first day with such a late night!

To change tempo I would like to thank my family for supporting me despite my missing Christmas with them this year. I know this is not an easy time for me to be gone with all the things that are going on. I am thankful that God has given me this opportunity. I was incredibly disappointed this summer when I realized that my hospitalization would prevent me from coming at all. Also thank you to all who have supported, prayed, and been with me on my journey of recovery. This summer has taught me that despite being out of the woods I am still not in the clear. I may always be finding setbacks due to my injuries but I can say with confidence that God's hand is still present and I can trust that He allows the setbacks for His purposes.

Please pray for my health as I am here. I am in good health all around with very comfortable legs. I would like to keep it that way if possible. I hope to be able to serve with everything I have while here, having my legs act up will frustrate that effort greatly. Pray also that I am able to listen and learn and reflect while here, I see so many opportunities to learn about God and His love for us as well as medicine and how to express God's love through medicine. I want to soak Him up. I want to see His face and know this part of His heart.

For now, I hope this finds you all in good spirits and that as you prepare for this Christmas season that you will remember that the world still hurts even if you are on Holiday. Not that you should celebrate any less for that reason but that you would truly celebrate the birth of our Savior. Celebrate and remember why He came.

In Christ,