Where do we begin? 18 days has felt like a whistle stop tour filled with kind hospitable bubbly people, delicious curries, wild rickshaw riding, beeping horns, ram packed trains, concrete jungle and beautiful green hills...
We arrived slightly tired from our flight at 3am in the morning and had a couple of hours trying to make our way to our accomodation. The first day in Mumbai was the culmunation of the elephant festival so Mumbai was alive and bustling with celebrations and festivities and we were groggy and ready to rest. So much so that we even managed to sleep through all the noise!
We've enjoyed spending time over the past 2 1/2 weeks with Ian and Naomi Hendricks, who have been very hospitable and accomodating in their home for some of the time we've been here. We've got to know people from their church, and also visited a couple of the other local churches, where Ed spoke. One of the biggest memories from India will be a few people who went way beyond the call of friendship and were sooooooo generous to us. We'll remember their amazing life stories.
We have been visiting a school in a slum where we have started doing some phonetics with kids ages 3-5. It's quite different to the secondary school teaching we did in South Sudan! Lots of animation and energy required to keep their attention all the time.
Some of the other highlights of India have been two days we spent visiting a farm outside Mumbai, where one of the ladies from Ian and Naomi's church is working on growing organic vegetables and looking at setting up a retreat/prayer centre. For anyone travelling through Mumbai you should definitely visit - there is a lovely waterfall which you can see from the bedroom window and everywhere you look there are different shades of green from the amazing variety of trees and plants. The roof terrace has a 360 degree view across a beautiful valley and it was magical standing there watching the rain pour down all around us. Beth has spent some time helping with business plans/strategies for the farm as well as with a few others from the church looking at their ideas for start-ups.
This week, we were also able to visit a leprosy clinic in Mumbai, a school for the blind and on Wednesday to travel to one of the tribes in the hills in Safale. It was another idillyc, beautiful, green valley, filled with rice fields, that we reached by train, 3 rickshaws, a 3km walk and wading through 3 rivers. We were met by kind people whose lives are so different to the rush of Mumbai; they live off the land, there are much lower levels of education and not much interaction with other communities. They treated us to a lunch of dahl and rice, and we spent some time talking to them about the bible, praying together and singing. Afterwards, we went and swam by another waterfall, where the little kids were jumping and diving off the rocks into the water.
Finally, We treated ourselves to two nights at a really nice hotel in Mumbai and did some sight seeing in South Mumbai. The service was beyond amazing, there was a great spa, awesome breakfast and it was such a relaxing time. Visiting Ghandi's house in Mumbai felt pretty historic.