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|India – Spring 2007
With our time in the north coming to an end, I reflect back on all that we’ve learned and experienced. We stared out the window our first night in India at the people everywhere, at the cars only inches away, at the sidewalks which double as trash cans, at the cows in the road, at the unknown surroundings. I felt dumbstruck, lost, wondering what I was thinking when I chose India.
But after 2 months in Indian culture, I fell at home. Continual travel has kept us active and on our toes (literally). I look back at everything we’ve done in our short 2 months here and can hardly fathom how much we truly have experienced. We’ve seen the beauty and grandeur of the Taj Mahal and the exquisite craftsmanship in the sculpting and painting at temples. Yet we’ve also seen the simplicity of village life in sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of city life with honking horns, barking dogs, vendors peddling their goods, and beggars pleading for even a rupee.
We rode camels in the desert and hiked the Himalayas. We have worshipped in Christian churches and observed others at Hindu, Jain, and Sikh temples and Buddhist monasteries. We twice enjoyed safaris in hopes of glimpsing a tiger. We have visited forts and palaces of royalty and seen both sadhus and monks give up everything following their religion. We watched the sunset in the desert and the sunrise on the Ganges. We have learned the game of cricket and been taught humility in losing to children almost half our age. We have learned from our Christian brothers and sisters at MCC in Kolkata and Woodstock in Mussoorie and also listened to the wisdom taught by the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. We have a new appreciation for washing machines, drinkable tap water, trash cans, internet, hot showers, and other mainstays in American culture. We have learned to barter with vendors who hardly speak English if only for 10 rupees, the equivalent of about 25 cents. We have felt the joy of dancing at weeklong weddings and shared the sorrow of the Bluffton tragedy although 7,000 miles away.
I have heard that southern India has its own unique culture completely different than that of the north. Thus we prepare again for the unknown and pray that God will continue to lead us, teach us, and keep us safe on the rest of our journey.
- Tyler Yoder