India Immersion Day 5
‘Faith without works is also empty.’ (James 2:26).
Tuesday Oct 24th
After a nice sleep, this time with many of us on the floor, ghost stories, and Hindu prayer calls every hour at XX:54, we had a bucket shower and then breakfast (which included chips!?). After breakfast, the Sisters gave us a speech about the progress of the clinic since 2009, including a history of how it came about. It was lovely to see how much All Hallows College has helped the community.
We then went on a village tour around the area where our clinic is. After visiting the river, which was gladly not as chaotic as the sea visit, it was interesting to see the way that the village is lived. There were many animals, many of us were astonished to find that the chickens had rather long legs. It was lovely to see one child in particular (Naranya) was still playing with the toys we gifted her last night. Sister Ruby explained the Hindu caste system, the locals in Varasanadu are all Dalit. The women earn 300 rupees a day and the men 500 (equivalent to £5).
When we returned to our rooms, Mrs Garvey pulled out the face paint and glitter and then we all gave each other face glitter decorations; then Kathryn gave Mrs Garvey a a tattoo.
After a 2 hour coach ride, we arrived at a hospice in which we were greeted with fruit cake and sweet bread. Then we got another one hour long coach to go and see the HIV/AIDs clinic that Brother James had built. We saw the thriving cotton industry and had the opportunity to buy their work which would have been sold on to the likes of John Lewis. The orphans were having a ‘Fun Eve’ assembly as it is currently a local public holiday, so we chose to join and watch them. Doron went one step further and actually participated in the event by getting on stage and dancing to the ‘whip nae-nae’, later joined by some of the younger orphans and Dylan and Kotah. Their ice cold moves on the dance floor made a great atmosphere for the rest of the audience. This was followed by traditional Indian Chai tea (which Will didn’t like after being force fed it at work in the past).
Later, we had an opportunity to visit the tomb of Brother James Kimpton, who founded the clinic. We were told that he was an inspirational figure and helped the lives of many children and parents affected by HIV and AIDs. Sister Susan explained to us that it may be possible for brother James to become a saint (through a long and arduous process). The tomb itself was very emotional and shone a spotlight on the generous acts that Brother James had done. For me personally it brought to surface the true meaning of the quote “Just as the body without spirit is empty; faith without works is also empty” (James 2:26).
In all, today was an informative, emotional day which taught us a lot about Indian, Hindu, and oriental-Catholic culture… we thoroughly enjoyed it.
Eva and Will.