The day we rode the camels, toured the palace (in Rajasthan), and then flew back to Delhi was Jenna and Asa's 3rd birthday. We were blessed to be able to call them once we arrived back in Delhi. Though I had been thinking about them all day and was sad to have to wait until evening to call, it was actually the morning of their birthday in the U.S. by the time we got to sing and wish them Happy Birthday!
My mom stayed with our kids for the first 10 days. Then, our friends and coworkers at GFA, Butch & Mary Lou, cared for the kids. Mary Lou made them each a birthday cake!
My emotions were a little interesting by this part of the trip. We were physically tired, but I was also surprisingly at peace. At one point I began to doubt myself as a mom because I was not worried about my children. It's funny how we ask God for His peace and then struggle with being so at peace when He gives it to us!
This second visit to Delhi included some time for us to shop and see a few sights not directly related to our ministry work in the area.
We were told to negotiate on prices. Having lived on the U.S./Mexico border growing up (and enjoying trips across for delicious tacos!), I wasn't hesitant in the least. It was fun to watch some of the students go from shy shoppers to firm negotiators. Many of us wanted to buy clothing (punjabis for the ladies--the outfits we wore while in India), spices, and handicrafts. Journals, scarves, fabric, decorative items...you name it, they have it, and one of us probably bought it. We actually didn't buy that much.
It was both neat and sad to experience the shopping. On the one hand they had very cool things, it was exciting to go back and forth over a price, it was fun to pick out gifts for family and friends. But, on the other hand, it was sad to see how little money some items sold for. For some, this was how they made their living. It was also a struggle to have kids ask us for money. You can't go around giving it out or you'll attract everyone within a half mile radius. But, it was especially hard to not give them a few rupees when we had just spent so much more on "stuff".
There are quite a few scenes in the movie Slumdog Millionaire that took me back to my trip to India. It portrays life for Dalits in India very well. The kids you see begging in the movie...the things they do to make them more profitable beggars...it's a reality.
After the experiences of shopping at various places, we went to visit the Lotus Temple. You can google it to see more images and learn more about it. It's a Baha'i temple. The whole Baha'i faith is interesting...and not Christian. We went inside and you sit in silence. It's weird. Our whole team felt the need to pray as we walked out and sat on the steps. It was a very different place than the market we had visited.
I'd have to say that while we didn't visit any official ministry sites during our last day in India, what we saw solidified in my mind the massive need that exists. I left the country more determined to love, to give, to serve than when I entered. I left the country changed.