Thursday, September 20, 2007

Driving through a dry river bed

Here are a few more thoughts from our trip to the village outside of Hat city...

So after about 45 minutes on a fairly decent road (blacktop), we stopped at one clinic. I’m not sure about the name of the town. We learned some more about TB and their Dry Land staff who run the clinic. It was interesting. Then we went, off the road to a village. We passed through several other villages along the way.

Let’s see – how to describe the road, the scenery, the village. The road was rocky, dusty, I wasn’t even sure which was the road and which was the desert at some points. We drove through a dry river bed part of the way. But that road is actually on a map. Troy said there are only maybe 3 paved roads in the whole country. The one between Hat city and another country - because the people from the other country built it. There is another road apparently from Hat city down to the south and then back up to the capitol city. But it’s not very safe. The rest of the roads in the country are like this – rocky, not paved. Tom said actually sometimes the dirt roads are better than the paved roads because the paved roads will have so many potholes it takes longer to go through them than the dry river bed! He called the road we were on the highway. :)

The scenery- rolling hills of dirt, sand, very little grass…hills (mini-mountain) after hill after hill. Guys in turbans herding their sheep. Boys using sticks to guide their donkeys, on whose backs were bushels of what looked like grass. Women in black and blue material getting water, or going between the houses. We honestly didn’t see too many women out and about. Little kids with blond hair, red hair, and black hair. Camels, donkeys, sheep, dogs. The village – mud houses – literally. Mud roofs, mud floors, mud walls. We arrived, were greeted by some kids, we used the bathroom which was literally a hole in the ground. It was even more of a hole in the gruond than the ones in India. There were two small mounds of mud on either side of the hole – for you to stand on, but no indication of which way to face. Except that some people didn’t have very good aim, and so you could kind-of tell which way people probably faced. But you could see straight down. It was maybe 10 feet below where the waste went.

We put some of our stuff down, kept our passports with us, and hiked up the hill on the opposite side of the village. We took some pictures and climbed around on the rocks. I ended up taking off my shoes because they were slippery and bare feet was better. Of course we have about 10 layers of clothing on, head coverings and all that, all blowing around in the wind – not practical rock climbing! But we had fun. It wasn’t too dangerous! :) Meridith (another girl here) and I found some little caves.

After playing around, we went back – the men went to another house (?), and we went inside. We hadn’t eaten anything all day because it is Ramazan. So, around 6:30, we were allowed to break the fast with some dates and bread. Then about 8:00, they brought out some rice and meat. It was good – not as spicy as Indian food, but still tasty. After dinner, they asked us to dance. One of the girls played the drum, and I got up and did some Indian dancing. They laughed and laughed, but said I was good.

Then one of the girls got up and danced like what I would call a crazy woman! But apparently that’s how they do it here. I said, “okay, okay, let me try again” – so I got up and said, “I’m dancing like you, okay? – then I flung my arms around and hopped up and down, doing my best to imitate her. They all seemed really impressed and laughed a lot. I got Meridith and Jenny to get up and dance with me. I think they had a good time too.

We tried to take a few pictures of us – but weren’t allowed to take any pictures of them, because their husband/father hadn’t given them permission. Meridith and I had asked if we could take pictures, the man of the house gave us a stern, “NO.” The men here don’t want their wives pictures being taken/don’t want anyone else to see their wives. In that home, the man had two wives. They, along with one of the wives’ sisters and another woman all hung out with us. It was so strange thinking of these two women – one older (about 30), one younger (about 23?) both being married to the same man. They each had 3-4 kids.

Psalm 107: Give thanks to the Lord, because he is good; his love is eternal! Repeat these words in praise to the Lord all you whom he has saved. He has rescued you from your enemies, and has brought you back from foreign countries, from east and west, from north and south. Some wandered in the trackless desert (the Ku people) and could not find their way to a city to live in. hey were hungry and thirsty and had given up all hope. Then in their trouble they called to the Lord, and he saved them from their distress. He led them by a straight road, to a city where they could live. They must thank the Lord for his constant love, for the wonderful things he did for them. He satisfies those who are thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.…The Lord made rivers dry up completely and stopped springs from flowing. He made rich soil become a salty wasteland because of the wickedness of those who lived there. He changed deserts into pools of water and dry land into flowing springs. He let hungry people settle there, and they built a city to live in. They sowed the fields and planted grapevines and reaped an abundant harvest. He blessed his people, and they had many children; he kept their herds of cattle from decreasing.… May those who are wise think about these things; may they consider the Lord’s constant love.

Psalm 108- the whole thing is good, but especially vs. 1:“My heart is confident in you, O God. No wonder I can sing your praises with all my heart!”

Psalm 106-v. 2- Who can list the glorious miracles of the Lord? Who can ever praise Him enough?…our ancestors in Egypt were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds…They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them…v. 24 – The people refusted to enter the pleasant land, for they wouldn’t believe in his promise to care for them. Instead they grumbled in their tents and refused to obey the Lord. Therefore, he solomly swore that he would kill them in the wilderness, that he would scatter their descendants, exiling them to distand lands.v. 43-45- again and again he rescued them, but they chose to rebel against him, and they were finally destroyed by their sin. Even so he pitied them in their distress and listened to their cries. He remembered his covernant with them and relented because of his unfailing love.Vs 47 – Save us O Lord, our God. Gather us back from among the nations so that we can rejoice and praise you. Praise the Lord, the God of Israel who lives from everlasting to everlasting! Let all the people say “Amen!”

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