We started the day with a 1.5 hrs ride to Jagayyapet where many of us attended our first church service. It was indeed one of the most enthralling experience as the music was blasted, emotions were heightened. Some of the girls witnessed what I would call a cathartic release. A member of the church started jumping up and down, and eventually collapsed on the floor with her face buried in her hands n sari. I am presuming that the weekly church service must be a place to let steam as they gathered to praise their maker.
We were also extremely privileged to have our fellow friends, issac, cas ANd Mcloud to contribute to their service with a message, a song and cas playing the drums! Is sac’s message was extremely heartening as he reminded us of our trials and tribulations being part of the test by God.
We were then led by the vice president of the factory to visit the cotton mill. Seeing the scale of the manufacturing, It was very much an eye opener for many of us.while I marveled at this extensive mechanization, I couldn’t help but also observed the solemn faces of the workers. Though it was a short 15 minutes walk in the factory, many of us came out with irritated throats and eyes. How happy could one be, working in this chain production? Clearly, welfare is far from the concern of the owners, which comes to my next question, if this factory is entirely indian owned. The massive production chain was sophisticated and certainly in every sense ‘art of the state’ technology. Given the enormous income disparity in this country, I am pretty sure one of the wealthy Indian would be able to throw in that amount of capital.
After which we were brought to Pastor Kumar’s home for lunch. By now, on this 8th day it is needless for me to explain what was served for lunch! Most of us are accustomed to the voluminous amount of rice/ briyani served and the Indian spices used in the curry, vegetables, potatoes, sauces;not forgetting the warm hospitality we have very fortunately received everywhere we had gone.
We then took a 4 hours coach ride to Warangal where we met the member of paliarment for Warangal, Rajalah Siricilla, Mayor of Warangal and David. After the official reception, a very elaborated procession awaited us. The Indian boys strutted their stuff as they danced to the Drums and whistles, the procession was also interluded with fire crackers very seemingly to make the most amount of noise as possible to let our presence be known and felt in this historical town! Most of us felt very honored and grateful to have this procession planned for us as we joined in the dance, throwing punches in the air. And cas who couldn’t get over the inhibited session at the church, took over the drumming in closing.
After a short 30 mins freshening in the hotel, we were then whisked to Scarvodaya Youth Organisation office. It is saddening to hear from Hepsibah all the countless issues their country are facing. Some of which are pervasive due to the strong culture, i wondered if these old beliefs and traditions are primarily the reason why poverty remains largely a problem Here. Girl illiteracy, caste system, violence against women, HIV/AIDs. In this county where there is approximately 250 people every Km square, SYO’s job is enormous!
While I tried to look at the issues India is facing in macroscopic ways, I also realized how massive and heavily populated this country is. Due to the severe lack of basic infrastructure (as we may call it), transportation, sewage system, access to health care, it is extremely difficult to disseminate information of food safety, basic hygiene, other form of campaigns from the government!
At the end of the day, to loosen this heavy heart, I rather embrace this diversity of the human race. and To my fellow friends from 11 countries ( including wales as an independent country not part of UK ) please choose to be on one end of the axis which is to appreciate what we have, and to make use of what we have got – a brain and a heart, to all the people you will meet, 3 rd world or not.