“Tough times never last, but tough people do!”

This India mission trip is a further piece of evidence to what I’m a firm believer of- “What do not kill you, will only make you stronger”. I have learnt and experienced so much these 10 days. It was ironic how I was still struggling to complete my work load, handling over the follow up receipts and payments, even right to the point as I was travelling to the airport on the 16/11/11; I had route a 5 kg delivery of our fresh frog meat to a client. That is a normal day routine of a day’s work.

This trip has put me face to face, in a world where all my principals in life have been challenged. I would NEVER ever litter in a public place; I would almost never see any people peeing along Singapore’s streets; I (ALMOST HARDLY EVER) jaywalk or walk between 2 moving vehicles; I have never eaten rice with curry gravy with my hands; I find it inconceivable to eat white rice with yogurt (Buffalo curd) especially after a hearty serving of briyani and curry; I find it a chore to haggle incessantly YET I had to ‘play hard to get’ mind game, to achieve a 30% discount at the airport only because we had 2 hours to spare; I also had to carry a vomit bag with me over the 8 days (a good mix of sewage stench, motion sickness, intoxication from Kingfishers and noise pollution). Despite that, the warm hospitality showered upon us from these Indians we see eking a living through subsistence farming around their homes, had very exponentially heightened my appreciation of the great diversity of life.

The difference between India and Singapore is stark; yet there is much to learn from the people I had met there. They had shown me what the meaning of contentment, humility, making do with their limited resource. It is almost seldom to be hosted in Singapore where the host will bring you to meet the other neighbours of the same vicinity. Especially the experience of being hosted in Kanchikacherla Village, Vijayawada, what looked like an impoverished village to me, demonstrated such an exemplary act of generosity and grace.

This mission trip to India is akin to going cold turkey – stripping us from our favourite food, wifi access, even the basic freedom to walk about in the streets. However, I’m pretty sure we left this beautiful country with memories which will linger with us in this lifetime.

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