By Alli and Anders
“The organized chaos of Indian culture continued with a whirl today. We started our day by having breakfast at one of the local’s houses, with traditional Boro dishes like til served alongside fresh omelettes. We were shown the bio-sand water filters that many in the village use. Although these filters provide mostly clean water, they still cause health problems for the villagers- including kidney stones and diarrhea from micro organisms. Seeing what they used currently made our team even more excited to show them the Sawyer water filters we brought along.
The morning consisted of a martial arts demonstration (Wushu) and hanging out with the kids. You could see members of our team starting to bond with kids, challenging them to a pull-up contest and monkeying around. As the smiles got bigger and bigger, I sat on a bamboo log and grinned at the chaotic joy that I saw around me. The love that we already felt for these kids was overwhelming, and a glimpse into what was to come.
As we began to assemble water filters for the village, each member of the team spent time hand-drilling holes into the buckets. For me, this time in the center of the village was really special because it was a physical representation of the labor of love we wanted to provide for them. Drilling holes and spending time together as two cultures and one community was powerful, and something that I want to hold onto forever. It was a small way that we could repay the labor and hospitality that the Boro people provided so generously for us.
We were able to demonstrate the assembly and use of the water filters in front of a large gathering from the village. In actions and translation and gestures, we laid out the exact steps for filtering, backwash care and longevity. We then gave buckets and the filtration systems to small clusters of people and helped them assemble them. The villagers asked questions that we never would have thought of, and were insistent on going over the process multiple times so that they knew exactly what went into the assembly and functionality of the bucket system. I was very encouraged by the engagement and responses of the people, as it was a display of their excitement and eagerness to care for the Sawyer systems.
In the somewhat overwhelming experience of village life, I was struck by the beauty of combined worship between two cultures. We were instructed to pray out loud at the same time, and so you could hear the prayers of the Boro people, and our English prayers at one moment. I truly felt God’s hand on our team, and the people we had gathered around us while we cried out hallelujah hallelujah in multiple languages. Our God truly transcends the cultural and language barriers in unexpected ways.”
“It was evident right away how excited the children were to be playing sports with us today. Before the camp even started all of us were sweaty from running around with them. Although we had a few translators to help us give directions to the children, it was still difficult to communicate with the children directly. There is something special in not being able to have what we consider to be a normal conversation in the United States with someone that speaks a different language, because you begin to learn how to connect with them at the most basic levels of human nature. The beautiful thing about sports is that you don’t need to know the same language to play together. You find ways to communicate like giving a thumbs up or a high-five. At the end of camp today we played Monkeys and Rhinos (we changed the name from Sharks and Minnows) as a joint group, because beforehand we split the children up into groups by age and gender for stations. It was fun to see the girls and the boys play together and interact.
Tonight we had a worship service at the church and we were honored as their guests on stage with scarfs being presented to us. This is a customary practice throughout India. The people here are all so loving, kind, and are extremely gracious hosts. It was hard at times to let them serve us in so many ways, because we are here to serve them. But the best thing that we can do to honor them is to let them graciously host us.
We have all been so thankful for our time here so far and have cherished all of your prayers!”