The days seem to be merging into each other and I struggle to remember what day it is and what I did earlier in the day! I know we've been with our team for more than a day because my dear travel companion and friend, Alice, has spent nearly 24hrs man down, in bed, with a tummy bug. She's been living off diarolyte and oatcakes since we got here.
So here's some of what she missed:
Wednesday afternoon we went to Mottamalai to visit Rev Fenn and his family.
Mottamalai is typical rural India, sandy roads littered with rubbish, sewage, animals and people cooking on open fires. Half built houses dotted around the village, fully occupied are filled with the sound of children playing and mothers shouting. An orange beam of sun light squeezes through the haze across the sky. All is not lost, as hope lives in this apparently god forsaken place.
Rev Fenn and his family live in Mottamalai. He used to live in his own house but because so many people in the village near the church are unwell, he has decided to move into his church so that if they need medical attention he can see to them or take them to hospital. Recently he took a small boy who'd been bitten by a rabid dog to hospital and a man suffering from a heart attack was saved due to the quick reactions of Rev Fenn. He has 3 sons, the oldest now lives with his grandfather as there is no space in the double bed room where the other 4 sleep at the back of the church. He could live in his house but has chosen not to in order to look after those around him.
Last year, St Andrews Dibden Purlieu gave enough money to build an ablution block at Mottamalai. This is just such a wonderful facility.
Apart from the obvious health and safety benefits of being able to wash and do your business in a proper facility rather than out in the field, the facility has employed two local people to manage the facility - Algar and Kannama.
Kanamma as so grateful to meet me, she took great pride in her work and it reminded me that we are not just here to give people money, but to give them a purpose, self worth, self respect.
To our congregation at St Andrews, we are so grateful for you and how you have changed the lives of those you've never met - thank you!
As the sun set we went inside to meet the children who attend the day care centre. Gold gave me the nudge after the girls did a short dance and said 'you're up'. "Uh, me!? Ok". I decided to teach them "my lighthouse" by Rend Collective and before you knew it, there were children all over laughing and pushing each other about as they did their sho-o-o-o-re actions. They were so lovely, full of fun and excitement, wanting to shake the hand of the funny looking white lady. Finally, dinner time - chick peas, beans and lentils. I had the honour of testing the food. It was good and touch wood, no Dehli Belly.
Young children at the Church in Mottamalai
After a lovely evening, we headed home, filled with such excitement for the plans that lay ahead for these children, inspired by opportunity and humbled by a Pastor and his wife who loves people. In total there were around 45 children and adults who were fed that night.