One greatest day of your travels.

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One greatest day of your travels.

Postby jimshu » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:02 am

So here is a little story of one of those great days in our travels...
Our family sponsor through organisations 6 children around the world.We travel when we can.
April 2006 we arranged with Childfund to visit a child we sponsor, her family and their village in Jharkhand State, west of Calcutta,India.This was organised with the Sisters of the Carmel school in Chakradharpur.We travelled 6 hours by train from Calcutta arriving at 11am in 40 degrees heat.Those sisters made us very welcome, taking us to their headquarters at the Carmel School of 840 pupils.They also operate a renowned hospital in that city.Kay and I were driven then to a village 1 hour out in this dry, dusty countryside where we were told a few people were waiting for us.
Imagine arriving to a reception of 200 villagers,flags, drums,many of the children gaily dressed in the school uniforms then being the centre of the procession for a kilometre through the village to the family's humble house.We have this all on video and stills as I gave the video and camera to locals to use,with no fear of them being stolen.We met 'our' child Savitri,and her family at her house where a tarpaulin was rigged up and a modest meal was waiting. 240 villagers crowded around,all taking the chance to have a full days celebration of food, rice beer, and dancing.Rice beer is very refreshing.I drank plenty.Later on being shown through their house I saw how it was made.The house was mud brick, asbestos roof with rice straw to shield it from the sun.Very small windows, and very dark inside.No electricity or running water.But spotless inside.
In one large room was stored their paddy.Paddy is the unhusked rice.This is stored in an ingeniously simple container made of coiled rope.As it is filled the rope is coiled higher on itself.But open to all the rats and mice....and their droppings probably gave that rice beer extra flavour!
In times of good harvest, once a year after the post monsoon planting, the rice rope barrel will be full.But every 3 or 4 years the monsoon does not arrive.Hence the village started an irrigation project to pump water to a high reservoir, then gravity feed their fields.This would allow them to cash crop vegetables all year round selling in the local markets.

We were overwhelmed with the sheer joy and natural grace and exuberance of these tribespeople who are the poorest of the poor.We with our modern luxuries, I doubt are any happier.

Coming back to the Carmel School that evening, we were overnighted in a clean, simple guestroom.Kay remarked how she'd love to live another day like that.We were thoroughly exhausted and overwhelmed.
We plan to go back to live in this village for a week next year.We have a project up there.We were interested in their attempts to emplace an irrigation system, forestalled through the need to buy a pump.So we came home, raised the money for their diesel pump.Last year we recieved photos and a letter from the Carmel sistes of the dedication ceremony for the pump.
And we later learned that the head Sister who had shown us such kindness, had been very ill when we were there.And on her death bed, she had asked whether we had sent up the money we had promised.When it arrived, they were able to tell her.Sister Bernadette died soon after , when she knew the village they cared for would get their pump.
When we learned of this, we asked Childfund to arrange to call the diesel pump after her, as a lasting monument for the work that Christian organisation undertakes with India's poor.
So imagine how we felt when we looked at the photos--all the village children playing under this big plume of water, gushing out of the pump.And there in huge gay writing across the pump was 'Sister Bernadette's pump"!
Now if I can figure out how to resize photos to this sites allowance I'll post a couple.
Many of you will have a special day to share.Who's up next?
Jim
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Postby Zuleika » Thu Mar 20, 2008 3:26 pm

Oh good lordy - that brought a lump to my throat!

Amazing!

I have many many to chose from, that I'll have to think about it but Im afraid they wont be as unselfish and giving as yours.
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Postby jimshu » Fri Mar 21, 2008 4:43 am

So finally I have caught up with new fangled wizardry...here's a link to view India village photos.
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=1 ... =652863280
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Postby francine_16 » Fri Mar 21, 2008 9:50 am

Jim, thank you for sharing those pictures. Your post and those pictures do make that look like an amazing and memorable time. I don't have travels days that were that big. However, I have so many great travel days. It seems on each trip there is a day that stands out as incredible. I guess a few of my great travel days would be the second day of the Inca Trail- making it to dead women's pass and then getting to the camp site and just sitting and eating popcorn with the most beautiful scenary around. Others include homestay in Peru, just taking in Iguazzu Falls, and interacting with local children at a school on the hilltribe trek in Thailand.
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Postby Zuleika » Tue Mar 25, 2008 6:04 pm

I have too many!!!!!
Looking into the eyes of a gorilla touching distance away in Uganda was pretty special.

But I will always remember bursting into tears when I first laid eyes on Sydney opera house - the culmination of 7 years worth of planning, preparing and hard graft in order to make my dream come true! (mad I know!)

Seeing my parents again for the first time after being away for 2.5 years was emotional all round!!
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One greatest day of your travels.

Postby debandpat123 » Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:43 am

we were in barcelona one night. a man behind us asked the waiter to bring him a "marlboro." in broken spanish, i offered him one of my husband's marlboros. he joined us, and bought drinks.. turned out he owned that restaurant, and several others. went to his home, which was nothing short of a mansion... a "flat" overlooking the "Sagrada Familia". he invited us to dinner again, and brought his daughter and wife who needed to practice english. (keep in mind.. this was all transacted in my less than perfect spanish.) he took us to his seaside restaurant, where we ate and drank like royalty. then he told us he had an incurable brain tumor, and was going to die. as it turned out, i guess that was his way of being grateful for a stupid american tourist who gave him a cigarette... will NEVER forget jose, and his wonderful family. ok then, that's my story and i am sticking to it!!! peace, deb
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