Today I travelled with ZL to Chit City, to stay the night with Emily and Erin (colleagues).
We woke up, and waited for the taxi that was supposed to come from Chit City. He was supposed to come at 10:30. We waited until 11:15, then sent someone to call and find out what the situation was. The phone in the hotel didn’t work due to the rain. Oh, and we hadn’t had electricity for maybe 48 hours. They had cut it off since there was too much water in the city. Since I didn’t really have anything that needed electricity, it really wasn’t a big deal.
The local leader came back. The news was that the taxi hadn’t come from Chit City because the road was blocked. One suggested taking a taxi from here, going a different road.
But, it turns out that the only three roads between Kha town and Chit City were not only blocked with landslides, but bridges were out – not even bicycle rickshaws could go through!! Finally, they said, “You could go by taxi up to where the bridge is out, try and walk across by foot, and then maybe find a vehicle on the other side. So, that’s what we did – not knowing what we’d find.
We did find several landslides, but they were halfway cleared so we could continue on. We also found the bridge that was halfway gone (it is about 20 feet above the river). We asked people what to do. There was a small foot bridge, made with bamboo they said we could take to cross the ravine and maybe find something on the other side. So, we did that – the bridge was pretty shaky, I wasn’t sure if we’d make it across! But we did. Then we got in a bicycle rickshaw for about 5 minutes to find some other kind of transportation to Chit City.
We did find one taxi that could take us – it would cost us 3000 taka, which is about $75.00 (which is a ton of money here….). I had already spent almost $50.00 for the first taxi. I said, “no, let’s try to find a bus.” ZL also said it was a lot of money, but was concerned about my comfort on a bus. I said, not to worry, let’s see first what’s available and then decide. We went a little further, and fortunately, there was a bus, and it was going to Chit City, and it was almost ready to leave. We were so lucky!
ZL of course felt so bad that it was a local bus, and how much I was suffering, etc, etc. I told him to relax, and that actually I was more comfortable traveling this way than in an A/C taxi. And, honestly the local bus was still 5 times more comfortable than the local busses in India – we had padding on the seats. I was impressed. I think ZL is used to foreigners from America, who generally travel like foreigners– in more comfortable ways.
Anyway, we finally arrived in Chit City and took an auto rickshaw to the bank, the bus station (to get my ticket to the capitol city) and then to the guesthouse where Emily and Erin were staying. I told ZL and his friend that I would probably leave them here. ZL was unsure about leaving me, and said he could come to the capitol city with me. I said there was no need for that and he should go back to his home. I said I was very used to traveling alone, and not to worry. He also met Emily and they spoke some of the national language, so I think he was reassured.
Anyway, they left – and I immediately said, “Emily, you got so tall!!” She said, “No, you’ve just been around Riverland people the past week and aren’t used to tall people…” It was so funny, I really felt like I had shrunk. But I hadn’t, and she hadn’t grown. Anyway, we went back and talked for a while. I shared with her the pictures I had of the workers in Kha town. She said, “I really wish I had come with you.”
I told her, “I did two mini-workshop story trainings for two Cha villages. I really wish you had been able to come with me too…” I told her how I felt like the people there were ready for the stories – and would indeed use them. I told her she should go and meet those people. I said how encouraging it was to see Cha believers, sharing and doing ministry in Cha and language. I said, in our place in Kahan, there just aren’t very many leaders who actually know Kahani and do ministry in Kahani language. They use Hindi. I said ‘It’s so great and encouraging to see these leaders – their heart to reach the Cha people and who actually see the importance of the native language, and who use it!!!”
Anyway, I did talk with ZL (while we were waiting for the taxi in the morning, as well as at dinner the night before) a little more about the future and how I might be able to fit in here. I shared how I didn’t know what God had planned, but wanted to ask some more questions so I could know how it might work in the future.
Q. From what I can tell the Mar and Muu people are the more unreached people of this area. Is that right?
A. Yes. (I know that there is more work to be done with Cha and Bam people, but in my mind, if there is less work with the Mar and Muu people, I think there is greater need there- and that is where I would feel I should go (if indeed I come back).
Q. Could I live in the Mar or Muu village?
A. Would you want to live there? Could you really survive there?
- Yes. I mean, I would live there maybe 3-4 weeks at a time, and come back to the city to get money, make phone calls, or whatever…
A- Yes, you could live there, but if you stay in a Bam Christian village, that would be safer.
--True maybe, but they are already Followers– no need there. I mean, there is need, but not the same. For the Muu or Mar groups - if I approached the whole thing with the idea of, ‘I’m doing language study and research and want to live part-time in a village to gain a better perspective of the culture and be more submersed in the language…’ – would they be so opposed to that?
A- No, you’re right – that would be okay. They would probably enjoy that.
Q. Would it work as far as the police situation?
A. Yes, if you came for a longer period of time, that would be ok. If you have a visa through our NGO, you can come and do research or consultant work for us (i.e. ministry however you want to do it), and they won’t ask any questions. It would be fine.
Q. Do you think storying/stories would work with these people?
A. Yes – definitely, I think it’s a very good way to reach them.
Q. If I came back, I would focus on learning the village language primarily- we learned through our experience in India, that we didn’t really need Hindi that much. But in India, English is a little more common than here. In your opinion, do you think I would need to study some of the national language first, like survival stuff?
A. Yes, it would just be helpful to get around with…but you are right, learning the native/village language makes a big difference and would mean a lot more to the people.