23.10.2012 - 23.10.2012
I didn't mention last night because it was after posting, but we called my brother, Gary, and wished him a happy birthday and he was so surprised that we called from India. It was good to talk to him. Every time we talk to someone back home it feels good to make that connection. Then I think about how hard it must have been on Glenn's parents to not have that option. Any communication with family and friends in the States was by snail mail because that was the only option available except a telegram and that was for really big news, like a birth.
Today we got up early again, but not quite as early, and got cleaned up. Our laundry wasn't quite dry to I helped it along with the hair dryer and laid it on the bed to finish while we ate breakfast. Breakfast was good and they have an amazing juice blend that has grape juice and I don't know what else but it was thicker and yummy! I opted for coffee today instead of chai which we have had most mornings and it was good to have it after so long. Glenn did some emails and contacted the people we are going to go see in Bolangir. We headed out for our road trip there through the state of Odisha where Glenn was born.
Our drive took much longer than we had anticipated. The road was good in some places and other places.....well, let's just say Tulsa roads are looking mighty fine! They were rutted, chug holed, partially paved and gravely messes. Our poor driver was dodging holes and hills all over the place. It took us almost 7 hours to travel here. There were no places to stop to go to the bathroom (for women-men just pee off the road). So I was really needing to go by the time we got here. Luckily I made it. We found the compound with no problem. Bilhan was there to greet us and very happy to see us. He and Glenn reminisced about living in the compound and we went on a walking tour as they talked about what was and wasn't there when they were little. We visited for quite awhile and saw the church and houses where they lived. The Bishop now lives where Glenn's family lived and he is out of town right now so we didn't get to visit with him as Glenn had hoped.
Later we went to Bilhan's office and met his staff and talked about their ministry here. They are really doing a lot for the community and surrounding villages. Everything from women's education in food handling to helping widows with no family to providing tuition to children for their schooling. He has a staff of 7 which is down from 14 due to lack of funding. They do all their work through donations.
We then went to see Narendras, the Davis' family cook while they were here. He was so excited to see little Glenn! Glenn pulled out his computer and showed him a picture that he had of his family that was taken in 1970. He grinned and pointed and just stared at the picture. His son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters were there and he had all of the come look at the picture. His granddaughter laughed. We walked over to his old house which is the one Glenn remembers and then headed back to Bilhan's. There we talked for a long time and then had an excellent curry dinner. Bilhan's nieces were there and sat and talked to us for a long time too. One of his nieces was so excited to learn that we were on Facebook and asked for our names so she could friend us. Bilhan's brother came shortly before we left but we got to see him and talk to him too. Everyone asked about all the kids; John, Bruce and Carolyn, and about Glenn's folks. They were all so happy to hear how everyone was doing. It was a fun evening of stories and laughing.
Bilhan had called someone he knew when we first got there and said we needed help with a hotel. He made our reservation for us and came with us to our hotel. It is a large room with well worn carpet, no towels (we got some when we asked) and no toilet paper (still waiting on it but at least I brought lots of tissues). At least it has a bed but no top sheet. We will sleep well because we are so tired. Bilhan is coming with us to Diptipur tomorrow. It will be good to have him along and for Glenn to have more time to spend with him. Needless to say no internet, so will post later. Good night!