Monday, February 22, 2016

The Day the Water Went Dry in Delhi

The first hint we got of an impending problem was a phone call from the Mission President’s wife about 4 pm Sunday: “The water may go dry tomorrow so fill up anything and everything you have with water--buckets, bathtubs, etc.” This was followed up 90 minutes later by a text from the Assistants to the Mission President to all the missionaries: “Elders and Sisters, There is a (problem) going on with the water supply in Delhi right now. It seems that there will be a water shortage possibly starting tomorrow and lasting 2 days. Please fill up buckets with water for showering and empty bottles for drinking and cooking water. You should already have 72 hour kits in your apartments. The internet is saying it will last 2 days so be prepared…”

So what did we do? Filled the bathtub,
plus 3 buckets for showering and flushing the toilets,
a few large covered bowls and a few extra bottles for drinking,
made our weekly soup (vegetable barley this week) a day early, washed our sheets (Monday is the usual day for washing but I had taken time on Saturday to do most of it), cooked up a pot of hot cereal, and watched a video on India before going to bed.
Our 72-hour supply of drinking water

Monday morning came—would we have water? Yup, so far so good. We both quickly showered after our bi-weekly skype session with 2 of our kids. We then went and did our usual weekly grocery shopping, hoping to get the produce sterilized before the water dried up. We ate a quick lunch, I did the dishes, and started filling the sink for sterilizing. The water turned brown—and then stopped. Oh dear, I shouldn’t have eaten lunch. The produce will just have to wait in the fridge for ‘2 days’ until the water comes back on.
I certainly hope their ‘2 days’ isn’t related to the ‘2 minutes’ expression used all the time in India—kind of like our ‘just a minute’ which can actually be quite a while.

I just read that Delhi gets about 543 million gallons of water a day from the canal that is having problems. Stay tuned!

P.S. Okay, so the Mission President's wife just informed me that they haven't run out of water yet and they live right next door. It appears that the guard didn't fill up one of our apartment building's two water tanks this morning so at this point it is a very limited and totally reversible drought! However, all the schools in Delhi didn't have classes today due to the threat of a water shortage.  It makes for a good story, don't you think?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Rain, Street Scenes, Visits, and Cooking Lessons

It rained!
We got up this morning to a wet Delhi—the first time in our 4 ½ months here. We have felt a sprinkle or two a couple of times, and walking in a fog of 100% humidity isn’t a totally dry experience, but today was the first time the ground was wet—everywhere. So it must have rained. I know, in a few months during the rainy season I will laugh at myself for being excited when it finally rained. And I’ll be wishing it would stop raining. But for today, I’m excited.

Yesterday we visited a couple of families in Dwarka and took a few street scenes to share with you in the process. We were standing at a corner waiting for a member to come guide us to their home and I looked to my left and saw a typical side street.
Then I looked to my right and saw a man on the roof pulling up a bucket.
After our visit, we walked to a Metro Station and on the way came across this decorated truck cab.
On our way home we saw this truck full of cauliflower—there were 3 or 4 of these all traveling down the road together. They do eat a lot of cauliflower here.

Today, while waiting for a pair of missionaries outside a Metro Station, I did the same thing—took a couple of street scenes.
There was a group of ladies that came up, laid down a ground cloth, and proceeded to sit on it and have a visit. 
You can see the colorful dress of the women and western dress of most men.

Also, as we went to our next visit, traveling in the Metro on an elevated section, I glanced out the window and saw this beautiful building. (Sorry for the window glare.)

Last Monday, on P-day, Elder and I went to Hauz Khas, built around 1300.
It includes a water reservoir, plus many buildings used for higher education and burials.
It also has a beautiful park along one side, maintained by many colorfully dressed women,
and visited by (or home to) quite a few monkeys, including this shy one.

 I have a love of foot bridges so was delighted to find a couple of them in the complex.

  One of the families we visited lately gave me a cooking lesson! Fun!
Another one is a beautician and promised to give me a haircut and facial during our next visit. Here is a picture of the whole family. They live in a village a short distance outside of Dwarka.
We are also spending quite a bit of time supporting the self-reliant program in the district and even got to do some training for the branch presidencies last Saturday. It was one of those times that the Brother conducting the meeting addressed the audience as, “Brothers and Sister.” We even got dinner afterwards at our favorite Indian Restaurant just down the street. So we are both as busy as we want to be and enjoying our work here in India.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Only in India!

Look who came walking down our street on Friday!

Yup, a full-grown elephant all decorated up for a wedding.
Life is full of surprises here.

We also went to another wedding this week accompanying one of the ladies we had for Christmas dinner.

It was quite the affair, with a huge tent full of good things to eat—this is just the dessert plate.

Indians really dress up in their fancy clothes for weddings.
This one even had clowns performing—but no elephants.
We never saw the bride or groom since we left a little after 9 and most weddings actually happen in the early hours of the morning. It would be interesting to actually see the ceremony sometime.

We got to do the mission apartment checks last month. There are 2 apartments of sisters and 7 apartments of elders. We liked this sign in one of the apartments.

And several apartments fed us while we were there—how kind!

These fellows know how to cook!

And outside of one of the apartments we spied this watch dog—now that is what I call magnifying your responsibilities!

A couple of weeks ago on Preparation day, Elder and I decided it was time to go see some more sights. We knew that most places are closed on Mondays, our P-day, but we went downtown to see the Parliament Building,
the President’s home,
and India Gate. How could they close outside monuments? Little did we know that 8 days later was Republic Day, a really big national holiday celebrating India’s Constitution. Celebrations include a parade downtown—so the mall connecting the sights we were wanting to see was blocked off! They were already securing the place and making preparations. Well, we did take a couple of shots from afar but I’m thinking we will have to go back again.

Elder and I attended an Inter-faith all-day conference at a college where he got to light a candle along with the other speakers (Tibetan, Catholic, Jew, Bahai, Muslim, etc.) and speak for a few minutes about our church. He showed the 5-minute video about our basic beliefs. It was a great experience.

The mission president and his wife recently returned from another trip to Pakistan and gifted us (as they say in India) a small brass nativity from there. They learned over Christmas how much I love nativities so of course I love it and still have it on our bookshelf!

We continue to visit people in their homes, both active and less-active members, plus those just learning about our church. Here is a picture of a family with 7 kids, the oldest one married so not in the picture. The next-oldest is mother of the 1-year old who bonded with me. The widowed mother works a double shift as an in-home aide trying to support her kids, but only earns about $50/month for her unskilled labor. We are standing on the top of their apartment building since the electricity had gone out (it does several times a day here).

People are so protective of us! Here are our 4-security guards, members of a family we had just shared FHE and dinner with, walking us out to meet our taxi. They kindly spoke to our driver to make sure he knew where we lived, and then asked us to call them and let them know we had arrived home safely. We are spoiled by the care of the members here.

We have been told that this is the winter that wasn’t here in India—it has been very mild. And already it is warming up into the 70’s during the daytime. We certainly hope that isn’t a harbinger of how summer will be. Stay tuned.