||05 November After so many months of preparation the day of departure had finally arrived. Rode with Kevin and Paul, and Paul's beloved cat Lushka to JFK. Heartfelt goodbyes out in front of the Kuwait Airlines section of Terminal Four. Won't see Paul or most of my friends until after the holidays and well into 2018. The exception being David Goatley who will be flying from Vancouver, and be here in early December through the 21st. / First stop of the journey was Kuwait City on a trans-Atlantic red eye. Spent 1/2 the next day in the airport in Kuwait, then another red eye flight to Delhi. Landed in Jaipur at 1:15 in the afternoon Friday (Nov. 3rd). The bed in what is now the familiar room overlooking the empty field in Gandhi Path never looked so good, especially after sitting up two nights in a row. Cannot express the joy of being back in this place, one that has such meaning in my life, has opened many inner doors to gratitude, acceptance, the power of love to overcome every and any obstacle. It's like a dream to be able to be back at Josephs International School twice in the same year. I know it's possibly a rare occurrence and am going to not take it for granted! This week will be a busy one at the school and there are a lot of things to get started. I'll have to pick most of these projects and workshops up when I come back in December. Plans are to leave the 18th of this month for Nigeria, and stay with my friend Peter on the Jos Plateau. Peter works with families and victims of Boko Haram, and we'll be documenting some of their stories. I know I'll return to Jaipur with much to share with the kids here, and hopefully we can continue building a network of bridges back to the kids on Stanhope Street in Bushwick. That relationship, between Still Waters in a Storm and Josephs International School began in December of 2015 and has continued to flourish and grow. Stephen Haff has become a mentor and friend, and I am definitely part of their family now. May Stephen's world view prevail in all we do or attempt - the power of listening and the belief in a world where there is no room for barriers or walls.
Students at Josephs International School (above)- each one has had to overcome so many obstacles just to be here- all of the students are the first in their families to attend school of any kind. They've had to battle intense societal pressure, tremendous poverty, the stigma that comes from being a member of the Dalit caste, untouchable,
rag pickers, beggars and gypsies. I've met many of their families and come to know some of their stories. It's not surprising that they've changed so many aspects of how I view the world, what I expect, want, identify as necessity. This afternoon was track and field day, the unrestrained joy beyond contagious. This is what letting go and letting God must be about - the ability to abandon oneself to joy, to movement, and to anything's possible right up ahead.
Have to post a photo of Daniel Mas (above left), eight months old and every inch a miracle. Earlier this year Daniel underwent 9 and 1/2 hours of open heart surgery. How is it possible even, to operate for that long on such a little one? Following the procedure the surgeons were guardedly optimistic. There was still a lot of healing that needed to take place and it wasn't certain the operation would be successful. Those were difficult days for Daniel's parents, Mahesh and Hema. So it was an extra joy meeting Daniel for the first time yesterday and sharing that joy with his mom and dad. Many people back home in America prayed, included Daniel in their meditations and times when they communed with God and to all who were part of this prayer and meditation chain, "dhanyawad" from Daniel and his family. NOVEMBER 6th JOSEPHS INTERNATAIONAL SCHOOL My first full day at the school, leading up to December when I'll be helping to start the first ever school newspaper. The name being considered is Aasha, the Voice of Hope (Aasha means hope in Hindi). Distribution will be in the Garidharipura slum community and various locations in Gandhi Path. An all-English edition will be reprinted back in America and given out at Still Waters in a Storm and to friends of Josephs International School. Below photos are from day one at the school where the welcome was overwhelming! I know we often talk about gifts of the program of recovery, how very real they are, tangible, the hard iron of grace that cannot be disputed or questioned. Moments like the ones experienced here in Gandhi Path are the true concrete reality, of God doing for us what we cannot do on our own, and the true gift of giving and, as we read in Step Nine my last Thursday night in Litchfield, finding meaning and purpose in life by taking responsibility for the well being of others. I may try my best to do this for the kids here at the school and hostel. All the while realizing that they are looking after and making possible my own well being, in ways they will never fully understand but somehow know, instinctively, as a matter of the heart.