Wisdom cries aloud in the street,
in the markets she raises her voice;
at the head of the noisy streets she cries out;
at the entrance of the city gates she speaks
        (Proverbs 1:20-21)
SiliguriIndian streets are full of life. Jim and I had gone into town with Ruben and Jonathan in order to buy some tools for the work ahead. We sat in traffic for about a half an hour behind a Muslim parade and then waited by the car while they went looking for what we needed (they go without us so they can get Indian prices. If we go with them at first the price triples. So after they find what we are looking for we go and make the purchase). Hindus, Muslims and political parties here seem to have parades every couple of days.  They march with flags, banners, idols, bands, blaring music from horn speakers… For all their disruption, fervor and excitement, most people ignore them. While waiting at the car, bicycle rickshaws and Mahindra 3-wheel cabs were everywhere. It looks like chaos at first, but as you watch an order finally comes into focus.
Jim watched cooks at a popular food stand as they served the waiting line.  When a person was done with their plate, the cook would take it back, use the water in the gutter to get it spit-polish clean and then serve the next guest. My attention was on a bicycle delivery guy who had piled boxes to about 5 feet above the bike seat. It was a wonder it was even upright as it swayed to and fro. He tried to pedal but finally gave up and began to walk the heavy bike to its destination. As he turned the corner the bike tipped precariously to about 40 degrees before he managed to recover it and then disappeared out of sight. The sidewalks themselves, if you can call them that, are makeshift covers over open sewers. They are seriously hazardous to walk on, opening up occasionally to the darkness below. Fall into one of those and you may have all sorts of wildlife encounters before emerging at the plate cleaning station of a popular food stand.
Back to the school, it has been a very productive time. The staff at the school impress me more each time I come. They are doing so much with so little. They pour themselves into this school in every way. The girls are precious. We’d bring them all home if we could. Here is a short list of what we were able to do:
  • decided with the staff upon the new curriculum for next year (the school year starts in January)
  • trained the teachers and staff in the new curriculum and other teaching methods
  • installed a second storage tank on the roof
  • installed a stronger pump and replaced the pressure switch
  • installed a hand pump for when there is no electricity (pretty common)
  • purchased some maintenance hardware for the school (shovels, wheelbarrow, hammer, drill, chisel)
  • set up a 70′ x 60′ gardening area for the school
  • designed a property grading plan in order to insure that there will not be any property flooding next monsoon
  • improved the Internet access for the computer lab
This is a great team – Lisa, Linda, Melinda, Monica, Marty and Jim have given their all. What a privilege to serve alongside such amazing saints, both our B4 team and the folks of Bright Hope.


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