Saturday, February 27, 2016

Everyday life in Rajahmundry--Feb 2016

About once per month you gotta get that missionary haircut...

This time it came with a head massage!

We visited the Kakinada Branch--located about an hour and a half by car north of Rajahmundry.

What wonderful people!

Elder Newton met another Newton there...

His name is Isaac Newton!

How cool is that?!!!

February and March seem to be the "wedding season". Sometimes we are awakened early in the morning--3:30 a.m. or so--to the sounds of a bridegroom and his entourage walking down the street in a small parade--with drums, horns, and candles--singing and chanting as they accompany him to his wedding. 

Here, we see a bridegroom going to his wedding in the daylight hours.

Here we see a parade in the late morning with an elaborate carriage pulled by two white  horses. It appears that the bridegroom's family is with him in the carriage. 

Our landlord invited us to his daughter's wedding--Kalpana. Here we see the wedding stage and the two Hindu Priests are preparing for the ceremony.

The Hindu Priest blessing and preparing the bridegroom. The photo at the lower left is of the parents of the bride and the bridegroom.

The bride and groom are facing each other with a cloth screen between them. The groom never saw the bride until 11:14 p.m. when the actual marriage took place.

The Hindu Priest sets the exact time of  the marriage.

Music is an integral part of a Hindu wedding. The Priests control when the band plays and when it stops playing.

The band has one volume:

Our building watchman and his family came to the wedding--Subbaro, Sitha, Satish and Pavan. They are good friends.

On P-day all the Elders in our Zone played a cricket game. We had about 10 people on each side.

It was a hot day, but it was fun.

These guys take their cricket VERY seriously!

Cricket is NOT like baseball.
The rules are complicated; the field is a circle with the bowler, a second runner and batter in the middle. If the ball is hit clear over the outer marker fence, it is scored as 6 points. If the all bounces over the outer marker, it is 4 points.

Phone calls from the Hong Kong Area Office...

Elder Pereira does some heavy thinking with Elder Newton while he is on the phone.

Shekar Alamury, our Clean Water project monitor from Hyderabad rode in a truck over 12 hours, along with three other people, to deliver 2,560 donated children's books for us to give to elementary schools. 

There are six different award-winning and well-illustrated books of Indian fables written in English.

The author, Kumuda Reddy, has been practicing medicine for nearly 30 years--is currently an anesthesiologist at Bethesda, Maryland--and is the author of a number of books on keeping families healthy.

Shekar also donated over 1,500 notebooks for us to give to school children to write their lesson in since many students must share their workbooks in India.

The day before Valentines day we were in a gift shop picking up a couple of wedding gifts for two weddings that we had been invited to and a photographer from the local newspaper in Rajahmundry asked us if he could take our photo. We said "sure" and the next thing we know our picture is in the newspaper.  We are told the Telugu translates to something like "Love is eternal." I guess because we look so old...

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Finishing the Hyderabad RO Clean Water Project--February 2016

We went to the village that our Project Champion, Mr. Sudhakar, grew up in.

Here, the children of the village school--grades K through 6--marched up the street with a drum band to greet us.

One of the traditions of Hindu-faith people is to break open a coconut and spill out the coconut water at the site of new equipment as a symbol of ensuring it will work for a very long time.

We encourage the Village Panchayat (elected governing body) to closely follow the recommended maintenance as well.

Lots of ribbons to cut!

This is a government-sponsored school. It is called Model School and is one of two in the State of Telangana. It is grades 6 through 10, plus two levels of trades school to help the children learn a marketable skill.

The children were so excited to receive cricket bats, balls, soccer balls, jump ropes and small rings for ring-toss.

Six-year chemistry teacher, Venu, tells the effect of fluoride on the bones and teeth. And now because LDS Charities brought clean water to the school, these children and future generations will be healthier. And for that, they are thankful; it has made him and the children very happy.

Turning the systems on!

What a great feeling!

Our Member of (State) Legislative Assembly (MLA) has several banners that are usually posted near each celebration. Here, his photo is in the upper right of the banner and LDS Charities' logo is in the upper left--showing the cooperative relationship of the Church and Telangana State.

Shekar Alamury--our Project Monitor-- decided to take a selfie at the Model School.

This is soooo cool!

School lunch ladies

Here is what the bad water looks like while flowing down the river.
Foam from the pollution and fluoride collects on the rocks.

Everyone is excited to see CLEAN WATER for drinking and cooking come out of the system!

Most of the RO water systems are 500 liter per hour output. That will supply a village up to 2,000 people. If there are more, a larger 1,000 liter per hour plant is installed.

Then there are presentations--shawls and flower leis usually.

And, of course, speeches to give...

People in the villages

Shekar Alamury, Sudhakar Goud, and Rajendran--great helpers to make it all happen!

Newspaper coverage, Namaste Telangana E-Paper, 16 February 2016.

Newspaper coverage, Vaartha E-Paper, 17 February 2016.

Elder Newton and three Champions of the Cause...

Hindu Wedding in Hyderabad--February 2016

We had the opportunity to attend a Hindu wedding when we were in Hyderabad.

Beautiful traditional outfits and traditional Hindu ceremony.

Each part of the wedding has a very specific ceremonial and symbolic function.

Rice represents life, rice sprinkled on the heads of the couple denotes a blessing of a long-lasting marriage.

There were two bands--both playing simultaneously most of the time--that lended to a festive (and very loud) atmosphere.

The reception was at a very nice hotel two days later.

Everyone greeted the bride and groom on a stage.

There were lots of photos--two cinematographers and three still photographers captured almost everything.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Visiting Old Bore Well Sites--January 2016

After ten years with their LDSC bore wells, the people are still so very thankful for the water.

They could not say thank you enough.

The storage tanks stand tall and still useful to every family.