Old friends

I'm happy to report that my first week back in Deodurga has been absolutely amazing. People come and go from our lives, but after experiencing some unexpected reunions this week I now stand by the phrase, "until we meet again." Enjoy!

 I first met this woman back in 2011. I would often cross paths with her on my walk from the boy's boarding to the sister's convent. Sometimes we would walk in silence, sometimes she would tell me some story in the local language (at which I could only smile and nod, adding the occasional  "uh huh-wow!". I would sometimes vent to her, knowing full well she would never repeat my woes. I again saw her on my last visit in 2014. She was making the same trek from the center of town to her more remote village, carrying some grocery items on her head. When after five days here I still had not seen her, I began to worry. You can imagine how happy I was to run into her with one of the priests last Thursday. He was able to translate that she insisted on walking (now ONLY 12) kilometers every day "simply to stay young."

I first met this woman back in 2011. I would often cross paths with her on my walk from the boy's boarding to the sister's convent. Sometimes we would walk in silence, sometimes she would tell me some story in the local language (at which I could only smile and nod, adding the occasional  "uh huh-wow!". I would sometimes vent to her, knowing full well she would never repeat my woes. I again saw her on my last visit in 2014. She was making the same trek from the center of town to her more remote village, carrying some grocery items on her head. When after five days here I still had not seen her, I began to worry. You can imagine how happy I was to run into her with one of the priests last Thursday. He was able to translate that she insisted on walking (now ONLY 12) kilometers every day "simply to stay young."

I first met Yasmin in 2014 while on a walk to Jacob's Well (the area's natural spring water supply that supplies "sweet water" to hundreds. I was fortunate enough to bump into her and her sister on a walk and have been chatting with them every afternoon this week. (They speak about 20 words of English and are trying to teach me some Kannada and Hindi and are always eager to introduce me to their friends passing by. Of course we all laugh when I attempt to introduce myself and ask questions, but I think the practice is paying off!

I heard my name (i.e. AMERICA!) being shouted near the school.  The girl on the far left emerged from some thorn bushes. I'd last seen her in 2011, but I recognized her face. She tugged on my arm and led me down a ditch (the start of every great adventure). She had me wait while she carefully shifted a huge pile of logs, branches and thorns from the path (presumably to keep out unwanted water buffalo and unfriendly neighbors). She beckoned me to squeeze through the opening (I obviously tore my shirt) and led me through the cotton field where her mother and siblings were eager to greet me. Unfortunately, eager-to-greet is not the same as eager-to-have-portraits-taken, so it took me a while to crank out this group photo. I'm hoping to return at sunset to better capture the beauty of this field.