Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Hyderabad--Celebrating Clean Water in Villages--25-26 Sep 2015

We arrived in Hyderabad on Friday afternoon, September 25, 2015 and found KFC and McDonalds right there at the airport! We were greeted by a representative from the Marriott Hotel and escorted to a car for transport to town.

Along the way we saw a unique building--it looked like a fish!

The driver said that the company that occupies the building is some kind of fish production company.

We met Elder and Sister Evensen--a senior missionary couple who are serving as both Public Relations Specialists and as Humanitarian Services Missionaries in New Delhi--and talked about current humanitarian projects throughout India.  The Evensens informed us that their visas to India had expired and were not going to be renewed. They were reassigned to serve in Malaysia. We spent most of the afternoon and evening being briefed on the current humanitarian projects throughout India that are going to be our responsibility.

We rode a camel on the way to the villages--
no, not TO the villages, just around town!

Elder Evensen had purchased 13 soccer balls to give to the children in the villages we visited. The balls were all flat, so we pumped them up as we drove down the road. Some people wondered what the heck was going on in the car!

As we entered the village areas we passed goat herders on the road

The village holy man greeted us and blessed us with a red dot on our forehead--a representation of spiritual sight--as well as flower petals and rice for our hair--symbols of a good heart and prosperity--as he continued chanting a blessing of all things good.

The holy man also tied small green rolled up leaves on our wrist--a symbol of continuous life--much like an evergreen tree.

The ribbon cutting to open one of five reverse osmosis water filtering systems this day by Elder Evensen.

The new water filtering system is blessed by the priest--there was incense, breaking of coconuts on a rock; colored powder, rice, flower pedals and flower leis are also placed on the equipment.

Sister Evensen turns on the system as officials look on.

The happy faces of the children tell it all.

Everyone was elated to have clean water in their village!

This man could not use his legs and walked with his hands.  Elder Evensen and Sunil, our Service Center Manager, are shown here helping him put on a new set of heavy leather gloves so that the scorching, rough ground would stop making his hands raw as he moved about the village.

The people of the village presented shawls and flower leis to us...

A high level Minister at the federal level who represents the people of the village was present, spoke and received petitions from village members regarding conditions that they felt needed attention.
Members of the Hyderabad stake presidency as well as from the Church Service Center and Mission are present as well.

There's dancing and celebrating throughout the village!

The village drummers strike up the band and a brief parade snakes through the dirt streets.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Unusual Transportation and Loads

Watch this post for a continuing saga of unusual modes of transportation or unusual loads in India

Elder Newton will add pictures as he comes across them

Transporting five milk in cans plus measuring
and filtering equipment on a small motorcycle

Bicycle Rickshaw in front of the Shelton Hotel in Rajahmundry.
He is pushing it up the hill.

Truck with bundles--notice the man sitting on top of the load.
There were three men on top of this load.

Bicycle Rickshaw with flatbed and load. That big box on the top must be pretty heavy--it appears it was loaded with a fork lift.
Nothing is ever tied down, for any reason.
At least the arrows are facing up.
Fragile? What's that?
Yeah, my tires are a little flat.

LPG gas is delivered to homes on a subscription basis. 
Here it is delivered on a tiny scooter.
This driver has six, seven-gallon tanks on his tiny machine.

Fruit being transported and then sold from
a three-wheeled bicycle.

This collage captures the "get 'er done" ingenuity Indians have for transporting stuff with the resources they have! The picture at the lower right is an example of how trucks all over India are decorated.  I asked why, and was told that the drivers take such pride in their trucks that they want to make them look extra special--and to make them look newer than they actually are!
It is amazing how much stuff can fit in an auto.
Mostly garbage is picked up with two guys, two shovels, a tractor and a flatbed trailer with three foot sides. This is noteworthy because it is the first real garbage truck in captivity in India.
Well, it is the first one we saw.
Top: Carpet on a four-wheeled cart, colorful boxes on a Tata truck
Bottom: Mystry load on a motorized three-wheeled bicycle; wild and ferocious empty water bottles on an auto truck--so wild they had to keep them in a cage to transport them; reeeal tall load on a tiny truck.
Top: Guy on the back of a motorcycle holding a ten foot pole--I guess he is looking for someone who wants a ten foot pole is so he can not touch something. And a reeeal tall cage truck.
Bottom: A reeeal tall load on a small truck--
so tall it wouldn't fit in the picture.

Top: Same three guys riding around on top of the truck shown above.
Middle: Truck with reeeal long pipes on top.
Bottom: Auto truck with sticks for making brooms;
Truck carrying "Edible Oil". I'll take my 3-in-one oil in a shot glass please.
Top: Big load of potatoes
Bottom: Big load of animal feed?
There goes the coconut guy!
Big fancified dump truck with a load of dirt--
he has the right-of-way around here! Big truck; big horn.

A snake outside a grocery store--the guys came running to take a picture; the girls ran and screamed!

How many guys can you stuff in an auto?

We see this fellow going by our apartment on the street every day. The cow is hauling its own dinner.

Ride share school bus. Based on the number of back packs hanging on the back and side, it looks like there are about ten kids in this "auto"--better known as an "auto rickshaw".

Sand trailer being pulled by a tractor.

25-Ton truck loaded up and ready to take food to the flood victims of the Chennai flood, December 2015.

What is it?

Cow bringing its wagon back to get breakfast

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Rajahmundry--the Beginning--11 Sep 2015

We flew from Bangalore to Hyderabad and on to Rajahmundry on Friday 11 September 2015. Got up at 3:30 a.m., got to the Bangalore airport at about 5:30--arrived at Rajahmundry at 10:15.

The airplane parked about a half mile away from the terminal.

We took a bus to the terminal.

President Chinna and Brother Raju were there to take us on into town--about 14Km.

Rajahmundry is a "village" of about half a million people--it is surrounded by farming and agriculture and has many of the elements one might expect in a typical tropical Indian village. It is a lot greener than Bangalore--there are several species of palm trees and other fruit trees as well as rice fields surrounding a bustling city. It is also very hot most of the year.

Fruit stand along the road to Rajahmundry

The bustling traffic in downtown Rajahmundry.  Cows have the right of way here, and painted lines on the road seem to just be a suggestion. Drivers must expect the unexpected at all times.

Here is what the city looks like from the sixth floor 
window of our temporary housing in the Hotel Shelton.


We went to check out the Rajahmundry church house. It is currently rented space above a bank.  The old church house in being renovated and added to at this time. Rajahmundry is the first place the Church built a permanent church house in India. Locals called it the AC church because it was the only church in town with air conditioning.

The church rents floors two and three--that is what we call levels three and four. Indians name the floors: Ground Floor (or floor 0) then first, second, etc.

 Saturday night missionary fireside with the Rajahmundry Third Branch. The theme was unity. The Elders performed a skit showing how parents need to be united in their decisions regarding the family.

Games, food and 
a great time!

Our new friends--sister Mandali Seelhama (bottom)
Anita and Teju (top right) 
and Sonny (top left). 

Members of the Rajahmundry Third Branch 
Saturday, 12 September 2015.

Indian Food

Here is a typical Indian breakfast from a restaurant.
Starting at the 6:00 position moving clockwise:
Baked beans, chunks of papaya and watermelon, corn,
french toast, a round deep fried doughnut-looking thingy 
(a wada) that was not sweet but was spicy hot, tamil 
 with vegetables (it has the consistency of cornbread)
And in the middle: fried egg and boiled mint potatoes. 
Buttered toast and strawberry jam. 
Pineapple juice and bottled water to drink.
I'm glad they left the silverware to use...

This was dinner at the Citrus restaurant in the Shelton Hotel.
We had Chinese Chop Suey, Chicken Fried Rice and Garlic Nan Bread--Diet Coke and bottled water to drink. Soooo good!! 

Seeing the Sights of Rajahmundry

Sunset over Rajahmundry

 Raju photo bombs our picture with a new friend

Larry, President Chinna and 
Brother Raju on the bridge

The Neo Concept 
Christian Church

Four bridges cross the Godavari River (second largest in India--second to the Ganges River) which empties into the Bay of Bengal.
Lookout for that BIG truck, Sister Newton!
This is a two way road with NO shoulder.

Water buffalo wander the streets along with cattle 

The Festival of Ganesha

September 17 to 27 India celebrated the Ganesha Festival.
Ganesha Chaturthi (Gaṇēśa Caturthī or Vināyaka Caviti) is the Hindu festival celebrated in honour of the god Ganesha, the elephant-headed. The festival, also known as Vinayaka Chaturthi, is observed in the Hindu calendar month of Bhaadrapada, starting on the shukla chaturthi (fourth day of the waxing moon period).

Here is a photo from Wikipedia showing a 
Vinayaka Chaturthi festival somewhere in India

More from Wikipedia:
The modern festival involves installing clay images of Ganesha in public pandals (temporary shrines), which are worshipped for ten days. These are immersed at the end of the festival in a body of water such as a lake, along with the idol. Some Hindus also install the clay images of Ganesha in their homes

A traditional legend about Ganesha's birth is that Parvati, the consort of Shiva, created Ganesha out of mala (dirt) off her body while having a bath, and breathed life into the figure. She then set him the task of guarding her door while she bathed. Shiva, who had gone out, returned and as Ganesha didn't know him, didn't allow him to enter. After the combat between Ganesha and Shiva Ganas, finally angry Shiva severed the head of the child. Parvati seeing this became enraged and Shiva then promised that her son will be alive again. The devas searched for the head of dead person facing North, but they found only the head of an elephant. They brought the head of the elephant and Shiva fixed it on the child's body and brought him back to life. Lord Shiva also declared that from this day the boy would be called Ganesha (Gana Isha : Lord of Ganas)

Here are some Ganesha Festival images we found on the street...

and on the Hotel Shelton lobby floor...

The finished  product
(The swastikas you see in the image above is not the same
--it is rotated 90 degrees--
and does not mean the same as was used by Nazi Germany.
We have seen it used elsewhere as a trade name on signs throughout town)

Youth Conference

About 70 youth came to a District-wide youth conference on Thursday, 17 September 2015 at the church.  They first had instruction on serving the Lord with all your heart, might, mind and strength; then instruction regarding being yourself and making good choices.


Went shopping with the Elders on P-Day. We squeezed six of us in an Auto!

We went to Reliance Mart--sort of a Wal Mart-type store.

Four new friends:
(left to right)
Aishu, age 4
Akshaya, age 6
Daughters of President Pratti, of the 3rd Branch.
Choty, age 6
Shiny, age 4
Daughters of President Mumidi the District President.

New friend Akshaya, age 6--
a member of the First Branch

Elder Newton working at the computer in the hotel.

No, he's not really asleep

Sister Newton found her chocolate! Hurray!!

This is what happens when you eat too much Indian food...
(Indian pizza, french fries and Diet Coke)

Temple Preparation Class

We taught a compressed Temple Preparation Seminar for a single brother plus seven Elders and one Sister as they prepared to leave for their missions on 23 Sep 2015

Chicken market--no, they are not rubber!

The Dowleswaram Branch

Outside the Dowleswaram Branch building in Rajahmundry

Friends at the Dowleswaram Branch--
where our apartment is located


The day that we went to register with the Indian Government at the Rajahmundry police station it rained VERY hard. In just a few minutes there were rushing rivers of water five inches deep.

Missionary Celebrations--First Branch, Second Branch, 
Third Branch

New Elders leaving from the First Branch
23 Sep 2015

Elder Chilli
New Deli Mission

Elder Gubbala
Bangalore Mission

Elder Mungamuri
New Deli Mission

Sister Gantimi
Bangalore Mission

From L to R:

Elder Mutyam
Bangalore Mission

Elder Devarapalli
Bangalore Mission

Elder Sarikonka
Bangalore Mission

Sister Newton helps clean up the chapel
after the missionary celebration
These are the type of brooms you see all over India

We had a traditional Indian lunch, wrapped in newspaper, with curry in plastic baggies, on the floor of the chapel the day the missionaries left for the Philippines

The New Church House

 The new Church house renovation and new 
construction is moving ahead!
It is expected to be completed by February 2016