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For my last trip to Asia, I was looking for the least expensive airfare I could find. The best rate had me going through Doha, Qatar, so I thought it would be nice to see a new country, and the trip was booked. My itinerary had me going from Doha, Qatar to Hyderabad, India. The flights went well, and so did my getting through customs in India, but that is when my travel plans fell apart! 

I arrived in Hyderabad at about 1:00 AM and made it through customs easily and reclaimed my luggage. To check in for my next flight, I had to go outside and up to a ground level floor, where I was stopped by armed military men. I told them that I had just arrived and needed to check in for my next flight. One man with a rifle and pistol took my itinerary and walked off. His partner told me to wait by the door, and the guy with my paperwork was gone for almost 30 minutes — and then my new day turned for the worse!

When the man with the guns and my itinerary returned, he told me that my flight didn’t exist! Then his partner took my itinerary and passport and went to the ticket counter for my alleged flight. I could see him the entire time, unlike the first man; and he came right back and told me to go to the ticket counter at 8:30 to get booked for their next flight to my next city of Visakhapatnam, India. Finally, I was given my passport and itinerary and allowed to enter the airport!

My first stop was to the ticket counter, and they told me that my flight never existed, and they didn’t know how my travel agent booked the flight. I asked for their next flight, which was at about noon, so I had a very long layover in the Hyderabad airport. I did, however, make a new friend — would you like to see?

Yes, that pigeon decided to share breakfast with me! I had seen other flights on other airlines leaving before my flight, so I asked at the counter about a reciprocal relationship with the airlines so I could get on an earlier flight, and I was told that there were no relationships like that with their airline . . . so I waited . . . and waited. Oh, did I mention I had a long wait? 

When it was finally late enough for me to work my way to the gate, I saw a sign that was extremely ironic and even painfully funny at the time. I will show it to you below!

So, the airport where I had been somewhat detained by armed military men that took my itinerary and passport, booked on a nonexistent flight, and had about an 11 hour layover had been chosen as the number one airport in the world. Wow, I would have hated to have seen the worst airport in the world!

Oh well, when you travel, you have to be prepared to have things (some good and some not so good) occur that are out of your control. Trust me, you will have much less stress and frustration if you accept what you can’t control and try to make the best of the new situation!

During a recent trip to India, I had the honor of meeting 20 widows in a lovely, but very rural, area called Gumma. These ladies were all 60 years of age or older, live in this rural area, do not receive the assistance needed from their families, and have various health issues. Would you like to see them?

On this day, our partner, A Good Shepherd Ministry, had arranged for the ladies to meet us and share their life stories. I heard stories of health concerns, abandonment, and even physical abuse from family members; but the most common theme, I am sorry to say, was hopelessness. 

In the local culture, a widow should live with her oldest son, and he should provide for her. Unfortunately, in this area there are very few opportunities for consistent employment, so most of the men are day laborers to provide what they can for their families. Having another person in their home puts an additional and unwanted burden on the sons of these widows. These ladies can’t live with their daughters, because once the daughters are married, they are considered to have left their family and joined the husband’s family. 

Another interesting cultural issue is how elderly widows are perceived. It is considered bad luck to look on the face of one of these elderly widows, so the widows aren’t even invited to a family birthday party!

On this day, we gave the ladies a big meal, new clothes, and a small amount of pocket money. We also shared with them that A Good Shepherd Ministry and Global Partners in Life have a vision of  building a facility that will house 20 of them with a kitchen where 3 meals a day will be prepared, a dining area, rooms for 4 ladies with a bathroom, meeting rooms, counseling, and hopefully some medical attention.

In the future, you will hear much more about this project! Thanks to the people that contribute to Global Partners in Life so we could provide food, clothing, and encouragement for these poor elderly widows!     

On my last trip to Asia, the best airfare I could find had me going through Doha, Qatar, on Qatar Air. I thought it would be interesting to see a new country, so I was pleased to find an inexpensive flight, and it was booked. Would you like to see Doha?

New Sights to See | BeauSides.com

My apologies for the quality of this photo, but since it is so hot in Qatar, all of the windows to the exterior of the airport were treated to block some of the sun. I can’t imagine how hot it gets there during their summer months! Hopefully you can make out some of the tall buildings in the background. This photo doesn’t display how large an area Doha’s skyscrapers occupied, but trust me, it was expansive.

During my flight to Qatar, I found it interesting that one of the options on your personal entertainment screen was the Quran. Also, when I arrived in the Doha airport, I learned that women had a separate prayer room from men, as you can see from the sign suspended from the ceiling. Obviously I don’t know much at all about the culture in Qatar!

New Sights to See | BeauSides.com

Doha’s airport was modern and clean, and it had several play areas for children. One of the interesting observances I had while there were all of the upscale shopping options. Also, within the airport, very tall palm trees were growing. One person told me that most of the hourly workers at the Doha airport were people from Syria. I don’t know if that was true or not, but the person that told me this has traveled extensively, so I believed him.


So far my trip was going well. But you will need to read my blog scheduled for the 15th of June to see if my good fortune continued!

What an Honor

April 30, 2019 — Leave a comment

In 2018 when I tried to visit the area of China where Mrs. Xu, the widow Global Partners in Life has supported the longest, lives, there was a surprise snow storm, so I was unable to visit. I was told my flight to the city may make it in, but there was no way I would make it out, so I decided not to go.

A few weeks ago I returned to China, and I went to visit Mrs. Xu. In the photo above, she is the lady on the right. Unfortunately, she had some bad health news!

What I didn’t know is that Mrs. Xu had been having a thyroid problem, and her physician told her she needed surgery. Mrs. Xu didn’t have the money for the operation, so she had no plan other than her prayers. 

Since I hadn’t seen Mrs. Xu in 2018, when I saw her a few weeks ago I had our financial support from 2018 and 2019! Mrs. Xu was extremely thankful to receive the gift from the generous donors of Global Partners in Life, because now she had enough money for the simple procedure she needed to have done.

When she visited the surgeon, he told her there was one medicine he wanted to try before doing surgery. Mrs. Xu started taking the new drug, and her condition is improving! For now, there is no surgery scheduled for her!

For Mrs. Xu, I want to extend a huge thank you to the people that are so generous to Global Partners in Life and enable us to help a widow in China with a medical need she couldn’t provide for by herself!

Truly, helping someone in need is an amazingly good feeling!

The Year of the Pig

April 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

Recently I returned from a trip in China right after their Spring Festival, which marks the start of their Lunar New Year. As you may know, there are a dozen characters that make up the revolving zodiac representatives of each new year. Many in China can tell your age, if you tell them which zodiac animal represented the year in which you were born. Would you like to know which year’s animal represented the year in which I was born?

The Year of the Pig | BeauSides.com

That is right! I was born in the year of the pig! Can you see the resemblance? With my eating habits and the way I kept my college room, well, the irony is overwhelming!

The Year of the Pig | BeauSides.com

Pigs are apparently playful, as you can see here and in the next photo! Who knew?

The Year of the Pig | BeauSides.com

The culture in China would dictate that I wear the color red often this entire year. You should have good luck when it is the year of the animal representing the year you were born, and you should wear red clothes frequently! That enhances your good luck, and maybe people will notice this is your year!

Oh, and one last photo of a cool pig indeed!

The Year of the Pig | BeauSides.com

Happy Year of the Pig!

Most of my blogs about the work of Global Partners in Life are centered around orphans and special needs orphans we support. We are not limited to only serving the children, and we also serve another demographic group. Do you know who they are?

Global Partners in Life has been supporting widows in China, and after my first visit to India, we started assisting widows in India as well. Would you like to hear more about them?

In Desperate Need of Assistance | BeauSides.com

When we entered the slums, I was introduced to a widow who had lost her husband to tuberculosis. She has 5 daughters, and the youngest girl is a deaf-mute. It is believed surgery would restore the little girl’s hearing, and that would help her to become verbal, but the mom can’t afford the surgery. Nineteen days before we arrived, the winds and rain from the monsoon season literally ripped their home in half. In the photo above, you can see the debris field left from their home being destroyed.

In Desperate Need of Assistance | BeauSides.com

Not too long after I returned home from the trip, India was hit with a devastating cyclone named Titli. As you can see in the photo above, there was widespread flooding and damaged homes of widows living in the slums.

In Desperate Need of Assistance | BeauSides.com

Through the contributions from the wonderful supporters of Global Partners in Life, we were able to provide care packages and desperately needed supplies for the widows that lost their homes and possessions from the cyclone!

After I learned more about the widow’s situations, I told my friend in India it was on my heart to provide a permanent structure above the flood zone for the widows. My friend told me that was also on his heart, so we are making plans to provide a facility for the widows in India. I look forward to telling you more about this project as it develops!

Thanks so much to the friends of Global Partners in Life that enable us to provide hope to the hopeless!

As I mentioned a few blogs ago, I have had my first trip to India. After being picked up at the airport, I was taken to a retail area because the people picking me up needed to do some shopping. Although I was somewhat prepared for all of the horn blowing, since I have been to China many times, there were many other sights, sounds, and smells that were quite unique. Would you like to know what some of them were?

The Land of Hindu Temples | BeauSides.com

Directly across the street from where my friends were shopping, there was a Hindu temple. This particular one was very colorful, and I could smell the incense being burned for quite a distance! I was surprised by how frequently I saw the temples around India. They came in many shapes, sizes, and colors!  Would you like to see more?

Land of Hindu Temples | BeauSides.com

The dome on this temple was probably 4 stories high.I promise you, I wouldn’t want to use the ladder you see built into the dome! The weather in this area is VERY warm and humid, so I am sure the view from on the dome would be full of greenery and many different forms of plants, but I wouldn’t climb the dome just for the view!

Land of Hindu Temples | BeauSides.com

This plaque was mounted inside a store. I am told one of the gods the Hindu worship is called the elephant god, and this plaque is for the elephant god. You can see where the holes are in and around the plaque for holding incense, which is burned for the elephant god.

India is full of many bright colors, interesting new smells, and wonderful people. I hope to share more with you about my time there!

 

A New Orphanage in India

February 28, 2019 — Leave a comment

As I mentioned in a previous blog, I recently had my first visit to India. The day before I left, the friend I was meeting there notified me that there was a newborn baby at the orphanage they were taking me to see. This baby had been delivered behind some bushes in a local public park, and then just left there. I was asked to bring some necessary items for the baby, which I quickly went out to purchase. Would you like to see her?

A New Orphanage in India | BeauSides.com

When this photo was taken, she was about 2 weeks old! The orphanage she is in was recently opened, and they are already doing amazing things! They are fully staffed, and are already running out of room. They can only have 10 children there at one time, and they have been successful in seeing many of the children under their care adopted by loving families! Would you like to see more from this new orphanage?

A New Orphanage in India | BeauSides.com

This new orphanage is very clean and organized, and the staff seems to truly love the children. I am thankful and honored to say that Global Partners in Life is now financially supporting this orphanage!

A New Orphanage in India | BeauSides.com

In the photo above, you can see some of the children that have had life-saving care provided for them at this orphanage! I was quite impressed with the leaders, caregivers, and the facility. Thanks to the people that give generously to Global Partners in Life, these children had a place where they can receive the care, food, love, and nurturing they need 24 hours a day!

 

Dining in India

February 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

In the previous blog for January, you learned that I went to India when I left China last fall. You have heard me tell many stories about the delicious meals in China, so I thought I would share with you some of my dining experiences in India. Would you like to see a normal meal?

Dining in India | BeauSides.com

As we entered the restaurant for my first meal in India, I noticed that along the wall the restaurant had many sinks. Since you eat with your hands in India, the restaurant provides you with many opportunities to wash your hands near your table. The meal in the photo above was curry. It is common to have a bowl of rice served with the curry. So, the process is for you to use the stainless steel tray as your plate. You will put the rice on the tray, and then place the different curry dishes on the tray as well. This is the interesting part: you will then mix the curry with the rice with your hands and, when it gets to a good consistency, you will pick up the rice and curry ball with your hand and put it into your mouth.

I must say the food was delicious! On this trip I used both chopsticks in China and then my hands in India to eat my meals. Don’t be fooled, eating with your hands is more difficult than you may think. If you have any loose rice stuck to your hand, it may fall off as you put the food in your mouth. Trust me about this! Sometimes you will also have some flat bread with the meal, which has a wonderful flavor!

Dining in India | BeauSides.com

Getting a cup of hot chai is very common in India. The photo above was taken from a street vendor, and they have a special way to mix the tea and milk as it comes to a foamy head. If I remember correctly, the procedure actually has the chai foaming up a couple of times. While walking around the streets in India, I could smell the chai being prepared in many places.

Hopefully you enjoyed our tour of dining and beverages in India! I look forward to sharing more with you about India in the future!

A Heartwarming Moment

January 30, 2019 — Leave a comment

There is a young boy named Xiao Wei at the special needs orphanage supported by Global Partners in Life. He is about five years old, and he is blind . . . but I don’t think he knows it. He constantly amazes me by how well he can walk and function inside the orphanage. He loves to dance and wrestle with his friends, and he has a very soft and sweet voice. Would you like to meet him? In the photograph below he is actually dancing!

A Heartwarming Moment - BeauSides.com

When I was there in December, I asked him in Chinese if he knew my name. With his innocent voice, he clearly said Beau. I gave him a hug and congratulated him and I was patting his shoulder when he took my hand. He had never done that before with me, but I could tell he wanted to lead me. We walked around the orphanage, and he led the entire way!

A Heartwarming Moment - BeauSides.com

My apologies for the poor quality of the picture above, but I was walking, holding Xiao Wei’s hand, and trying to take the picture with my left hand. Yes, I am right handed. Hopefully you can tell this is Xiao Wei leading me around his home, and I couldn’t have been happier!

The main reason I was at the special needs orphanage that day was to provide financial support for the children and the staff. Through the contributions of our generous donors, Global Partners in Life keeps the children who can go to school in school. We pay for their school fees, lunches, books, supplies, and uniforms. Also, we pay for the children’s food, utilities, toiletries, and the salaries of their caregivers. On this day I also provided Christmas gifts for the children! It was a fantastic day for all of us!