...pure religion travel blog

this little girl ran after she saw me

for some reason, the villagers love to have their babies' picture taken

these villagers live in their not so luxurious boats

the truck and the grub

fighting for frame space



(ok...we'll try this again. the power went out midway through this post, and this is the second attempt.)

one method of ministry we've been a part of is feeding the poor. in the mornings, huge pots of wheat meal are prepared that can feed anywhere from 150-200 people. we load these into the back of a pickup and motor to the nearby villages, or schools that are run by MTN. try to get a mental image of a village. if you are imagining dirt roads, thatch huts, hard-working people and hard-playing kids and very little infrastructure or developement, then youre on the right track. some villages are a stones throw from the ocean - the same ocean that took their homes and boats not too long ago. these people saw, experienced the tsunami. the schools are simple also. theyre not much more than a concrete building, no a/c, and packed with kids too poor to afford the education thats being paid for by Paparaos ministry.

it goes like this. we pull into the village and drop the tailgate. the people then line up, bowls in hand, ready to eat. not ready to eat like you and i are ready to eat. theyre hungry for health reasons, not to be comfortable. normally, it goes well. they are patient, the line moves, the food dissapears and we've done what we can for that day. but there are times when it is not so smooth, as we learned today.

we went to a village to feed them and to administer medical aid. a doctor and his assistant came along who set up a booth, complete with drugs to hand out for the peoples illnesses. the line was long for him. we stood by and watched him do his work while everyone else watched us (sally and i) watch him. the feeding started when the doctor had almost finished his work. we didnt start to serve until there was at least something that resembled a line. it seemed impossible to reach that point. after 20 minutes or so, we began scooping out the meal and filling bowls. the line quickly turned into a mob. small kids were being pushed against the tailgate, not even visible to me from the bed of the truck. all i could see was a little hand with a bowl. we did the best we could, but had to close the lid and try to establish some kind of order. this went on several times before we had to stop. there was still plenty of food in the pot and the people knew it.

at one point, i was sitting on top of the closed pot while we tried to get them to line up. try to picture this with me. here you have a crowd of hungry, very poor people around a truck. inside the truck is what they want - food. now imagine the westerner, the american full and satisfied from lunch earlier that day, sitting on top of the food as if to say "nope, not til you behave". if you see nothing wrong with this, then ive done a poor job in describing the events. even more, after we stopped serving the food, i remained by the truck. they asked me over and over and over again to give them some. every time i told them no. (if i were to start serving again, it would get out of control, and it wasnt my call to begin serving again anyway.) they understand "no", but they dont hear it. of course they dont hear it. of course they wont take "no" for an answer. would you? would i? theyre hungry and all that matters is the food. i actually started to get annoyed when they wouldnt stop poking me, pulling at my shirt. the east is tugging at the west, the poor pleading with the rich for help, an indian woman, baby in arms, is asking me to give her some wheat. i ignored them, told them no and got annoyed with them. it was not a pleasant position to be in, but one i am thankful for having been in.

later, we tried again to serve. this time, they grabbed the pot and took it away. the pot dissapeared in the crowd of villagers and was empty in minutes. it was every man for himself at that point. shortly after that, we left. dinner never tasted so good.

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