Sunday, November 6, 2016

Schade Girls High School--Rajahmundry--Completed 30 Dec 2016

In April 2016 we received approval to help the 120-year-old Schade Girls School in Rajahmundry. 

This famous school has 214 girls, grades 1 to 12 (equivalent in the U.S.). The school was founded by Miss Agnes Ida Schade of the Lutheran Church in 1894--the church has long forgotten about the school and does not provide any support at this time. 

The 13-member staff contributes a portion of their wages to keep the electricity on and drinking water close by.
Many of these women were students at Schade School.

The welcome we received when we first arrived in April was beyond words...

A parade--with us in the middle--that had drums, marching escorts, an ocean of flower pedals on our heads, dancers, and singers.

There was also a cultural program of traditional dancing.

The girls also sang several songs for us.

The school facility is very old and the water well had no pump.
They asked if we could provide a hand pump and a small garden. The Rajahmundry 2nd Branch will prepare a garden area that will have vegetables (for school lunch) and flowers (for botany class). 

We were able to provide them with new fans, wiring and lights...

as well as a student microscope, compound microscope, slides and a new printer for their desktop computer.

We were also able to install a hand pump for their well--they did not want an electric pump because they could not afford the electricity.

We returned on 31 Oct 2016 to celebrate the completion of the project.

We were again welcomed with music, flowers and personal escorts. 

We were again treated to a wonderful cultural event--dancing, scripture reading, and speeches of appreciation.

The students sang a Telugu hymn as well as the India national anthem.

It was a great day for LDSC and the Schade Girls School of Rajahmundry.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Rajahmundry October 2016

On 6 October 2016 we attended a "Cradle Function" for President Prathi's new son, Nephi, at the family home.

The ceremony was simple. They first put the baby in a traditional sling cradle that hung from the ceiling. Grandma and Grandpa had pictures taken of them and the baby in that cradle. Then they asked us to place baby Nephi in the new cradle that they had purchased for him. It was a great honor for us. There were dozens of pictures taken of that. Then everyone came to the cradle and left a small gift and sprinkled some yellow rice on Nephi’s head as he slept. More pictures, and more pictures…

Then we all went upstairs to a rooftop landing area and had a great lunch. There were probably 50 people who came and well-wished baby Nephi and had lunch.

Here is a Rajahmundry fruit treat that comes only once per year. They are called Apple Custard fruit.  They have large black seeds all through the fruit. You peel back the soft skin of the fruit and eat the inner white contents--being careful not to eat the seeds. They are sweet and sort of custardy tasting!

Good hamburgers, fries and Diet Coke at the Bangalore Hard Rock Cafe!!

Soooo Good!

We visited the new chapel that is almost ready to be occupied.

Very nice.

Can't wait to move in soon!!


No shoes,

No hardhat,

No safety glasses...

But he has a safety scarf on his head!

Well, that's OK then!

On October 20th we had a 3rd Branch Elder's Quorum--Relief Society activity at the church.

This is the park that we walk at each morning.

This day, we became LIFETIME MEMBERS of the Park Association!

For $1.50 each, we can come and walk any time for the rest of our lives!

They are so proud to have two Americans sign their book as LIFETIME members!!

Walking to the park one day, Larry did some Street Badminton with one of the neighborhood boys.

One of our responsibilities (?) is to inspect all of the new construction along the street as we walk to the park. Here, we see (top)
a large dump truck size pile of sand. 

24 hours later the entire sand pile is gone into the construction of the new apartment building.

Here is the crew at work moving the cement from the mixer up to the second level of the building. At this site, they rigged up a lift with a cable pulley connected to a large diesel engine with a spool on which the cable was attached.

We were invited to Family Home Evening with the Taneti Family.

We talked about the importance of family temple sealing.

They were sealed last year, just before we arrived in India, in the Hong Kong Temple.

While driving down the street a while ago, Raju pulls over and says "You need to try sugar cane juice".  

So we did...

Pretty sweet, but good.

Here is an example of the typical milkman in Rajahmundry.
He brings the milk in large stainless cans on a motorcycle to your door every morning.

Sometimes ya' just gotta' have Thumbs Up right out of the two liter bottle!!

After 13 months of sleeping on a four-inch board, that was supposed to be a mattress, we were blessed to receive a new bed that actually had inner-springs, memory foam and a pillow-top!
Waahh Hooo!!!
Here the mattress store guys bring it up the 5 floors to our apartment after a ride on the top of an Auto.

Larry "cuts the ribbon" on the new bed...

We check its comfort level...

Darla puts the final touches on it...

We went to an "over the top" Birthday Party for Sathwik on Oct 23, 2016. More than 500 people gathered at a function hall to hear loud music, watch kids 5 to 12 play games, take photos, and eat. This is a tradition for first birthdays in India--very large birthday parties!

October is also a popular month for weddings in India. Here, the groom is escorted to the wedding with a small parade and a band.

A Visit to the Uadgingutta Temple near Hyderabad, 28 Oct.
We were invited by the MLA to come to this very large Hindu Temple to participate in their prayer service. It was very interesting. We were honored with flower leis and a special scarf.

Small things become big things when you don't have them...

It is VERY hard to find lettuce in India.

We found some!!


YSA All-India Conference Hyderabad 27-29 Oct 2016.

About 480 Young Single Adults converged at the Summer Green Resort for three days of seminars, fun and inspiration.

Stake President John Gutty spoke at the final devotional meeting.

The young adults enjoyed the time together.

The Summer Green Resort had signs along the streets with a message...

These two cute little girls caught our eye as we were moving from one village to another in Nalgonda. They were working very hard on the floor.

Diwali is one of the biggest national holidays of India. It is called the festival of the lights. (Top) Here is a design made by our neighbor in the hallway--it is made with colored sand. (Bottom) Our neighbor invited us to their Diwali family prayer service. 

Lakshmi, the goddess at the center, is the Goddess of Wealth and Wisdom.

Darla had her birthday while we were in Hyderabad celebrating RO Clean Water units in the villages of Nalgonda. When we returned to the hotel, the Courtyard Marriott staff had prepared a special birthday treat for her...

October is a month of birthdays! Shekar Alamury's twins also had their first birthday.

It was at his home up on the roof landing.

About 50 people came to wish his twins--Leona and Reynold--a happy first birthday!!

Our YSA Family Home Evening was on Halloween. We played the 1996 movie "Hocus Pocus" with Bette Midler--and made them a Halloween treat of candy and cookies.

We had also given a Halloween treat bag to our ten-year-old neighbor girl, Kirtana.

This is what we found the next day on their apartment door.

They were showing their respect for our traditions as we had shown respect for their Diwali traditions.

Yanam Wheelchairs--Completed 22 Oct 2016

On 11 August 2016 we traveled about two hours by car to Yanam, one of seven "Union Areas" of India that are designated as out of any state. They came as a result of being settled by other countries outside of India--France, Portugal, Spain and Holland. When India received its independence from Great Britain in August 1947, these areas remained "outside" of any state in India. Today, they are much like Washington D.C. in the USA--they receive services from the Central India Government, but they are not part of any state and therefore do not receive any state services. Their taxes are lower, but the people generally are extremely poor.

There was space outside and inside for people to wait for their assessment and interview.

This man explains how his disability came to him.

Each person receives one-on-one counseling and is measured for just the right chair for his needs.

This man looks for his government medical records in an old rice bag that he carries with him.

Careful measurements are made to ensure the chair fits the beneficiary so that no further internal injuries occur as a result of sitting in the chair for long periods of time.

A family counsels about the future of mobility and hope of better days.

Attentive volunteers help in any way they can to ensure each participant receives careful attention to every detail of their experience.

A long day for all of the volunteers--over 80 people are interviewed; 54 are scheduled to receive new wheelchairs that fit their needs in about six weeks.

On October 22, 2016 we gathered at Tallarevu Village, near Yanam, and distributed nearly all of the wheelchairs.

Happy faces with Bishop Vasantharao, the father of Pastor Sagar, our host.

Chief Minister Krishna Rao             MLA Subbaraju                     Pastor Sagar
Chief Minister Krishna Rao, MLA Datla Subbaraju and Pastor Sagar spoke. Also present was MLA Mummidlbaram. 

Other local leaders who spoke included the local Sarpanch and the immediate Past Sarpanch (President) of the Tallarevu Village.

Chief Minister Krishna Rao is Minister for Tourism and Health. He has served over 30 years as a Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), serving the poor children and older people of this area. We also presented Minister Krishna with a commemorative LDSC crystal statue.

Happy people--

Happy families---

These are the days we love to have--the days we live for!

It was a GREAT DAY!

A family takes their new wheelchair home on the only mode of motorized transportation they have...the family scooter.