Archives For India

The Community Cup

July 15, 2019 — Leave a comment

If you ever think you have traveled enough in your life so that nothing in a new culture will surprise you, don’t be shocked when it does happen. At least that was the case for me! 

During my first trip to India, I was very surprised to learn of something they do in their culture that was unexpected, and caught me by surprise. Would you like to know what it was?

In the photo above, you can see a normal looking street-side restaurant in eastern India. The people would place their orders and wait for their food to be prepared in an outdoor kitchen. Once the patron had been served their order, they would eat their food standing around the restaurant amid the hustle and bustle of a busy street — but did you notice something in the foreground of the photograph?

In India, it is common for a restaurant to have a cooler setup with water in it and one glass for everyone to use! Now that alone may shock you, but there is a little more to it, and it isn’t as bad as germaphobic people may think. There are cultural norms for using the community cup, and the rules are very simple. Would you like to know about them?

The community cup is there for everyone to use; but when using the cup, it can never touch your lips! It is very interesting to watch people holding the community cup well above their mouths as they have their heads tilted and never spilling a drop. Honestly, I am relatively sure I would pour water all over my face and probably my shirt as well until I had some practice, but I never saw anyone using the cup ending up looking like they had a quick shower with their clothes on!

I found this little nugget of culture both interesting and entertaining. So, are you ready to drink from the community cup? 

In my last blog about the work of Global Partners in Life, I shared about how we have a vision to build a facility for 20 elderly widows living in a rural area of India. On the day I got to meet the ladies in desperate need of assistance, they got to share their stories; and out of the 20, a few of them truly stood out and touched my heart. Would you like to meet one of them and hear her story?

A Sad Situation for My New Friends

This is Khanjagini Singh, and she is over 65 years of age, but we are not sure exactly how old she is. At one point after her husband died, she lived with her son. Unfortunately, must husbands don’t make any financial plans for their wives, so she had nothing when her husband died. In this rural area, there are not many good consistent jobs for the men, so most people are common day laborers when they can find work. Taking care of his mom was an unwanted financial burden for her son and his family. 

When this situation was at the worst it could be, the son punched Khanjagini in the mouth and knocked out one of her teeth. That was the day the son kicked his mom, Khanjagini, out of his house!

As Khanjagini was telling us her stories, her facial expressions changed and she cried almost the entire time she spoke, so I know her son’s actions hurt her soul as well as her mouth. Some of the things we take for granted are a huge struggle for her, as she looks for clean water, food, medical care, and hope.

I will share a photo with you of Khanjagini as she told us about her son beating her and throwing her out of his home.

A Sad Situation for My New Friends | BeauSides.com

These ladies are in truly in need of assistance, and they live day to day not knowing where their next meal will come from or who is going to assist them. That is why it is so critical for Global Partners in Life to come to their aid. 

Will you help us? Please visit our website and donate to such a worthy cause!

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!     

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!

As Global Partners in Life looks for new opportunities to have a greater impact around the world, this fall I went to India. With some research I had done earlier in the year, I learned the worst conditions for orphans were in India. That piqued my interest — and luckily I had a contact that was in India — so when I left China, I went to India.

Upon arriving in India, it was as though my senses were being overloaded! There were so many new sights, sounds, colors, and smells, so I was thankful I had a little traveling to other countries to prepare me for India. All that I was absorbing was fascinating! Oh, and did I mention the heat and humidity? I was there during the monsoon season, so it literally rained every day I was there and it felt like about 96 degrees Fahrenheit!  So the combination of heat and humidity was impressive daily!

New Territories to Explore | BeauSides.com

One of the first things that caught my eye was how animals of all shapes and sizes roam freely through the streets and shopping areas. This really was a funny story in the photo above. The man seated by the tree was selling corn, and the cow wanted some of his corn. To accommodate the cow, but not give away his best merchandise, the man put some of the corn husks and trimmings on the ground. He had a large bag of good corn on the other side of the tree. The cow took what he could easily get on the ground, and when the man became engaged with a customer, the cow went around to the other side of the tree and ate some of the man’s good corn!

New Territories to Explore | BeauSides.com

Another thing that caught my eye was how elaborately the long distance hauling trucks were decorated. These trucks would be taller that the ones we see in the States, and sometimes their cargo was stacked on top of the trailers, with large nets trying to hold everything on the trailer. On the back of almost all of these large trucks would be the request to please blow your horn. The drivers of the trucks would have a very difficult time seeing you, so they politely ask for you to blow your horn when you approach them.

New Territories to Explore | BeauSides.com

New Territories to Explore | BeauSides.com

I am sure we will have many more stories about my trip to India! Hopefully you will enjoy the culture as much as I did!