His View – The ‘miracle’ and the village

March 29, 2010


I’ll start by apologising to Laura for not posting as regularly, or if truth be told at all for some time.  

Let me first address the ‘miracle’.  It depends on what you class as a miracle.  As a scientist I do not believe in miracles in the traditional sense i.e. a wheelchair bound, blind person springing to their feet like a lamb in springtime being able to see all the colours of the rainbow again due to divine inspiration.  I know many people do, including people in my own faith and that is fair enough and to each their own, but I personally do not.  As for the uniform appearing out of nowhere, it must have been overlooked the first time, or was placed there after being found elsewhere– it did not appear out of nowehere.

Having said that, I do believe miracles of sorts do occur in our everyday lives, it’s just that we stop seeing them and put them down to chance or coincidence.  The miracle that I believe did occur with the uniforms was personal to that particular boy, who would have gone home without a uniform and would not have known the feeling of wearing something with pride, a symbol of his and his families aspirations.  The fact that a simple uniform gave him that feeling to me at least is miraculous.


Villages to my mind are a quaint communities in the English countryside, with thatched roofs and country lanes, perhaps a local post office and a local pub.  Of course in India I wasn’t imagining the above, but (and maybe naively) was imagning small huts with warm, welcoming,  and glowing lights.  They should all have doors at least shouldn’t they?

Wrong and wrong again.  Laura has described the conditions of the villages perfectly, but like she says, the descriptions don’t do it justice.  To start with the road, or lack of road, path or any other mendium by which a veichle travels from A to B was alarmingly absent, which meant we had to walk, no wait..hike.

En route we were given tales of snake bites, and tiger maulings  and subsequent mortalities by the entourage.  As I double checked my combats were tucked into my boots, I noticed that Laura was doing much better than me and was not in the least perturbed by these tales of death.  I also notices a some sticks, mud and crud in the distance and was pondering on the route around the obstacle when Nagendra pointed out that, that was in fact the village.  

The huts, had no windows, no doors and no electricity.  The people were poor by indian standards, and thats poor.  They were covered in lesions, malnurished and looked broken.  Alarmingly I noticed that cows were living next door to their owners, but that was soon clarified, they were in fact living with their owners, because the animals were being eaten by tigers if they weren’t secured in.  Ah ok, makes sense, thats alright then.

I realise this sounds pompous, and reading like I and indeed we, are better than them.  This is not what I mean at all.  These people were warm, friendly and welcomming, in fact the warmest reception and send off I have ever received, if these people like you, they fall in love with you.  The problem was, and is that they are desperately poor and lacking in resources, including education.

The villagers were all gathered waiting for us, sat squatted in the only area of the village that could hold 30 odd people.  The men were bust organising whilst the women cradled babies and covered their faces. 

I had come with armed with a plan, to talk about malarial prevention which, went out the window initially as we talked about health & hygiene, washing hands, and covering up open wounds.  At one point a woman came forward and asked Laura to hold her eplieptic child, so to cure her.  The villagers believed that to be held by a white person is good luck, and healing.  I thought it strange and uncomfortable, although Laura of course obliged, i’m sure she felt the same way but you could never tell.

After we had completed the talk and demonstrations, Laura handed out bandages and toothbrushes that she brought from Canada and of course the people were thrilled, thanks again to her church.  Finally we were escorted by the village elders to the ‘road’ out.  One older man, infact the chap in the glasses in the below picture said ‘thank you so much for comming, you have given so much, I will now clear the shit from the road so you don’t have to come accross it’.  We hadn’t really done anything, but it just goes to show the appreciation for a little bit of time and attention which these people have done without for so long.

The experience brought home to me how valuable education is, and how I had taken a good education for granted for so long–and I think that is true for alot of people in developed countries, we forget that that there are people out there that would give their right arm for an education.  These people are hungry, hungry for anything we can give them.


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