Are you SURE we aren’t in Kansas?

‘Cause it sure felt like it last night! Check out the scenery around the home we stayed at:

But I’m getting ahead of myself. :)

Yesterday morning, we headed out to a boys CCH and did a VBS. We came home for lunch, packed up, and headed to Narsimgolu, a girls CCH about an hour away.

We did VBS stuff with them as well, including teaching them how to blow bubbles:

And some finger (okay, hand and feet) painting too:

But then something that doesn’t normally occur happened:

Paige got in the car and left, leaving Courtney, Agape, and I at Narsimgolu. We spent the next 24 hours at this home!

And let me just tell you, it was a time full of adventures!

I made my first chapati:

We ate dinner with the family (and breakfast and lunch as well – rice and curry of some sort for three meals…I’m ready for somethin’ different that’s for sure!):

Then, after dinner, we painted the girls’ nails. However, I wasn’t through one hand when the power went out. We headed up to the roof where Courtney and I attempted to paint by moonlight…

We got quite a bit of giggles out upon examining our work once we had the light of a candle. :)

Then, it was time for bed. And by “bed”, I mean, lay out mats because we were having a slumber party on the roof!!

It was a BEAUTIFUL evening, and as I mentioned before, we were out in the middle of Kansas-like NOWHERE. The clouds cleared, the moon was beautiful, and there were stars! This Kansas girl was comforted by the silence other than the ever familiar sounds of being outside in a rural area. It even SMELLED like Kansas out there :).

We fell “asleep” listening to worship music. I say “sleep” because the girls passed out pretty fast, but I’m not sure I got more than maybe an hour of sleep. See that precious little girl next to me? She passed out in a position very close to me in that I could not move to get comfortable out of fear of crushing her cute little self. But the few times I fell asleep for a few minutes, I woke up a couple of times to her cuddling with me in her sleep. Melted my heart! She is SO sweet.

A less Kansas-y thing was the apparent church service that decided to start in the nearby village around 1 or 2 AM? All I know was that I heard a speaker through the loudspeaker system that most of the churches have, and lots of “Hallelujahs” as the Indian people do during church starting around then for a couple of hours. I wish I knew what it was for sure and WHY they started it so late.

One thing about sleeping in the village, and especially sleeping outside, is that you wake up with the sun. So, the 5 AM wakeup was MUCH earlier than the 9 or so that Courtney and I are used to. Especially when I didn’t get much sleep but ten energetic girls had, it was a bit of a long day today. :)

We did stuff (I don’t even know what, to be honest. But it killed like 2 hours somehow. Okay.) then had breakfast (yellow rice and leaf curry. Yep, like they went out to the tree and picked some leaves. I didn’t partake).

During breakfast, I happened to mention to Agape that I had never been on a motorcycle upon mention of the Pastor’s. Next thing I know, this was the scene:

And off we went, seated just like that, to a nearby village to buy cold drinks for ourselves.

At first, Courtney and I were a little fearful for our lives as we had neither never been on motorcycles before, were sitting very weirdly, and had nothing to hold onto. But it didn’t take long for us to relax and realize how nice and enjoyable the ride was!

We got back to the church and I was EXHAUSTED. Like, I had NO energy whatsoever. But 10 girls and 3 pastor’s kids did! We read books for quite a while, then played and played and played some more. This was honestly one of those sub-par adventures – I was SO hot, and SO tired that I couldn’t enjoy this time with these girls. But that’s okay, they had plenty of fun anyway. :)

We played games until lunch time. We had potato curry and rice for lunch (curry and rice, see, told you!) then went upstairs to anxiously await our ride home. Paige had originally planned to come, but called to say that one of the boys from the home we went to yesterday was having surgery to remove a boil (pray about that, by the way. Because of the heat, several of the kids – and Sean – have been getting ridiculously insane and painful boils.) so she was just sending the driver and Karnacker, one of the CCH staff members.

We waited and waited anxiously, and our exhausted and sweaty selves were ecstatic to hear the horn as the car pulled up! We did our final things, said goodbyes, then hopped into the car. I had planned to sleep on the drive home (it’s about 45 minutes, or so we thought.)

Here is where I must insert a disclaimer/spoiler alert, for the mothers’ sakes. ;) Before you read any further: know that everyone is okay. :)

Interest piqued? Good. ;)

It didn’t take long for me to figure out that I was NOT going to get ANY sleep once we pulled away from the home.

There’s some background information you need to know before I can go any further. I’ve mentioned Chinna, Sean and Paige’s phenomenal right hand man. Usually he is our driver when we go out for CCH stuff, but he is out of town right now opening the new CCH’s that are too far for Sean and Paige to get to. So, S & P had to hire a driver for the next two months. They hired one yesterday that we were impressed with on our journeys (day 1).

So anyway. We were out in RURAL India. Roads aren’t great in CITY India. So you can just imagine what the roads were like. Bumpy, narrow, parts of the road simply missing, and so on. We had a very, very, very, shall we say, bouncy ride home. We were probably driving a little faster than we should have been, but Courtney and I just held on and didn’t say anything because that’s how Indians drive.Though we were wishful that Paige had been with us, because she would not have let him drive like that. (Not that it was unsafe, just not slow enough for how bumpy it was.)

At one point, Courtney and I exchanged a glance as we bottomed out (in the still pretty gosh darn new car). Not much later, we had an….incident. We’ll call it a “one automobile accident.”

Again, remember my disclaimer. Everyone is fine. :)

We hit a bump far to fast and suddenly our front bumper was bent and on the ground. We stopped as the driver, Karnaker, and Agape attempted to fix it. They got the bumper back up onto the car, but it was rubbing the tire so we couldn’t drive.

By now, Courtney and I have crazy headaches from the heat, though we are SO thankful for the AC in the car, and bouncy ride, are still exhausted, and just want to get back to the apartment for showers and relaxing for the first time in over 24 hours at this point. We sat in the car as they worked and more and more people from the village stopped to “help.”

Eventually, long story short, Agape, Courtney, and I ended up on an auto for about 25 or 30 minutes back into Ongole (as if we hadn’t been through enough bump trauma already… ;) just kidding – I think the auto ride was less bumpy than the car!) and to the apartment. I’m not sure where the car is now or what will come of it. Agape said it would probably need to go get repaired because the driver’s temporary fix would NOT last long.

Please pray that the car will be fixed quickly, easily, and cheaply! We need that vehicle to get to the homes we go to (we’ll need it to get to 2 or 3 homes this coming week) as well as to get us to Hyderabad one week from tomorrow morning!

So anyway, now we are FINALLY at the apartment. I am showered (it felt SO great!!), have been chowing down on gummy worms, and have a few Advils in my system. ;) I’m not sure what the dinner plans are, but then I have a Skype date with the Kitsons this evening that I am looking forward to, then I am SO ready to PASS OUT and sleep sleep sleep! Sundays have been french toast morning around here, which will be great tomorrow. In addition to the fact that we always all four sleep in on Sundays and don’t do much of anything all day either. :)

So, last night was better than today, but all in all, spending the night in the village was a great experience! Especially one that felt so much like home. So many memories were made and I am grateful for that!

I am down to just one week left in Ongole. This week will be more VBS’s at both CCH and CCDC’s, a day at the beach with one of the CCH boys home groups (I don’t know who’s more excited – us or them!), and Saturday will be the monthly Second Saturday event. Our team helped with it last year, it’s the even where all the close CCH homes gather in Ongole for a day of fun together! Then, early early next Sunday morning we will make the 7 or so hour trek to Hyderabad. But it will be so worth it!

Hyderabad weekends are Sean and Paige’s closest time to America. The rough plans for this trip include Chili’s, a movie at the theater, time at the new coffee shop (perhaps what I am most excited for! No, that’s not true. I’m more excited for Chili’s. But coffee shop is a close second. What can I say. It’s the barista in me and I’m curious!), and just chillaxin’ time before I fly out VERYYYYYY early Tuesday morning (like 4 something AM) for EUROPE! Can’t believe my time here is nearing an end – in less than two weeks I will be HOME!

Have a great weekend, America. :)

 

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About Amber

Life is better when it's full of joy.
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