So...after a lot of praying and waiting, Ana Maria(founder of the school I was going to be working at) and Eva (another missionary) came to pick me up. My first experience in India was the amazing/crazy driving. I could already tell this was going to be an interesting 2 hour drive to the school. Check out the beginning of this video from when my friend Bobby visited a different part of India. It is just a small clip of the non stop honking and driving without lanes. Every type of vehicle I experienced in India was interesting, to say the least.
Most of you know that I wasn't really sure what I was getting myself into when I decided to go to India. I knew that I would be involved with kids, but I was pretty sure it would be at an orphanage. On the 2 hour drive from Kolkata to Dakshin Barasat, I learned all about what I would be doing.
I learned that I would be staying in a girls hostel, with about 30 junior high/high school girls. It wasn't an orphanage, it was a school, Maranatha School. The school serves 300 children from K-to class 10(the end of hs.) The 30 girls and 4 boys that live in the hostels are there year round. Most of them have been invited to the school to save them from bad home situations, early marriage and/or being sold into prostitution. Most of the younger kids were on Christmas vacation, so I was told that my job would be to mostly spend time with the older girls, because they don't get visitors very often.
This is the room I slept in, and a couple views from the roof of the school. The first few days in India were really, really difficult for me. I was recovering from not so fun jet lag(Kolkata is 13.5 ahead of California) and I was struggling with figuring out why God had sent me to India. For the first few days, I felt like I had raised money for people to send me on vacation. The missionaries treated us like kings and queens. There wasn't much to do at the beginning, nothing to build, nothing to help with. I spent a lot of those days in the Word and in prayer. I knew I was supposed to be there, but I was pretty confused about the impact God wanted me to have. It definitely wasn't a typical missions trip with a schedule and something to do at all hours of the day. It was comforting to know that Jen and Jarrod, the other 2 Americans visiting, felt the same way. I was so blessed to have some other people to share my experience with.
My first night in Barasat, the staff was preparing for a Christmas teacher appreciation breakfast the next day. I got to meet a few of the girls and help them decorate the room a little bit. I was feeling pretty overwhelmed by this time, but I was so excited to be in a place I have always wanted to travel to!
These two wonderful ladies, Eva(from Brazil) and Elena(from Bolivia) are enjoying the Bollywood music videos on the t.v. Both of these girls turned out to be two of the most Godly and amazing women I have ever met. I remember praying while I was there, and asking God if I could ever be servants like they are.
Much, much more to come...