Saturday, September 02, 2006

Missionaries??

I can't get the forceful words of a missionary I heard last Sunday out of my head. "Preperar! Para est vie de Juesus Christo est perto, abri seu corazons, tirar pedras, coisas est que prohibrir voce de viver na caminha de Deus." Its not that here words were profound or original, you can here variations coming from any missionary, that resonates with me, but rather the manner in which they were delivered. With Whole hearted belief, that the book that she grasped in he hand was the truth and the way, the only way, to the foretold promise land. How odes such an unwavering belief develop? I am bewildered by this tenancity of faith. But, more importantly I have been grappling with how I feel about missionaries.

Sitting around your dinner table in the United States after you have had a filling meal, probably accompanied by a glass of wine, it is easy to condom them. Propergating faith, converting by providing basic human needs to those who dont have the means to provide them. Evangelizing is demonized in the liberal circles i ran in. It took me coming to a developing nation to get real prospective. The missionaries do Damn good work here. The run the majority of, and the best orphanages int Mozambieqe. Their churches act as a community center. Church becomes a social event, provides an opportunity to do something, it becomes an event that presses on for 3 hours full of music, singing, and dancing. whoo the dancity their quasi routines, where everyone participates formt eh baby strapped onto the mothers back to the Avo who gentle shuffles her callaoused feet.

But how do the converted Mozambiquans feel about the words being said (the words of god)? The words that disencourage ancient cultural practices, that demonize tradtional healers, once highly respected leaders int he community. I look a the faces of the congreation and often there eyes are vacant and lips are tight, in neither a smile or a frown, he stationary not moving in consent or dissaproval. So how do they feel... are they just waiting for the next opportunity to sing and dance? Have they seen the light, or is going to church a practice accepted in return ofr a community gathering and the perks the church provides. What if there were another facet way to organize the community, would it thrive as christainity does?

India «the trip»

India is an amazing country, rich with heritage and religion. It is difficult to put my experiences into words, especially under the time crunch of the internet cafe. But my trip took me from the financial capital of Bombay, which was bursting at the seems with people. The sheer density of people and things was positively overwhelming and astonishing.

Next we traveled to agenda where 26 Buddhist caves were painstankingly carved into a ridge from the 5-10n century. Those with only true devotion to a faith could create, every nook and cranny intricately carved with testament to Buddha, ceilings, walls, and pillars are decorated in elaborately detailed paintings depicting scene's of carnivals, worship, festivals. The religion appears so humanistic to so the Buddha sleeping or decibels depicted with voluptuous bare breasted ladies. From the Buddhist caves we traveled to an incredible Hindu temple. Words nor pictures and do this temple justice. The complex was huge with a man temple in the center without a surface not designed or carved in representation of a god. To the surrounding walls which were also roams dedicated to different gods and goddess. Tourist wanting in and out of each room heads moving up and down and back and forth trying to take the immensity and the details of it in. Snapping a photo, only to be disappointed with the digital image.

We spent the weekend in Pune, a quasi-suburb, 2 hours south, of Bombay, where a Jewish community resides. Pune has been heavily influenced by the west. I had a minor freak out as I entered a 5 story mall, I guess a year in Africa can make you forget consumer's capitalistic tendencies. Then we headed north to New Delhi, did the sites in the city. But the real highlight of this leg of the trip was obviously the TAJ MAHAL!! It most certainly deserves to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. In perfect symmetry it stands as an attestiment to a mans undying love to his wife, I only hope to be so lucky. The narrow reflecting pools perfectly align to reflect the entirely of the beautiful building. I am no conisour of architecture, but I stood and stared at the this wonder, I cant bring myself to call it a building, for 3 hours.

Then we headed up north to the Himalayas on an overnight bus. In the soft morning light we climbed up a steep windy road, that more holes then pavement. The single lane was bade double by the generous, but benevolent honks of horns. The road ended at the top of a steep hill, which I thought I would end up walking up, and before us lay lush mountainside, steep like the Rockies but green has the hills of Vermont. Nestled into the natural steeps were houses, and the landscape was decorated by lines of color, hanging between trees, off of houses, on rock ledges. Although the colors were primary and bold they have become part of the environment, and are symbolic of the seemingly harmonious balance between man and nature in this tranquil land. We had arrived in daringly, the Tibetan Exile community were His Holiness resides. There your found shaved heads clad in maroon robes, whose gentle steps climbed steep mountainside, each step was with prayer as a string of beads moved effortless through fingers. So apparent it was, it is about the journey, the means, that provide the profundity of the end, the destination. The Buddhist community lives along side a transient but continuous population of hippy foreigners from various parts of the world, who have come for various meditations, homeopathic healing, and crunchy things of the like. Their only distinguishing character was the length of their dread locks. We passed our days appreciating the beauty and walking through the mountains.

We then continued a little farther into the mountains. And spent the last days in Vashisht, relaxing, visiting natural hot springs, and appreciating out last days together. To my best friends I want to say thank you for an amazing trip, your continual support, and sense of adventure. Africa 2007 or bust !?!?

Chelsea goes to India

So yes I live in Mozambique, and I traveled to India to meet three of my most favorite people in the world, you know who you are

The trip started at 4am July 12th, where I waited on the side of the road for a bus to drive me to mapped (approximately a 24 hour bus ride). Well 100km in the bus had broken down 3 times so with a plan to catch in Joburg in 4 days I decided to take matters into my own hands. Hence commenced a 4 day hitch hike of over 1,000 miles. I fell into the good grace of meeting to middle aged, rich, south Africans who took me into their care. I was able to overlook there not so suddle racists comments, due to their extreme kindness, paying for my accommodations and food at one on of the necessities beaches, Tofo, in MOzambique. They brought me across the boarder to Nelspritz, the next day I took a bus to joburg to get my Visa.

well, easy you think, go in get the visa. Not quite. I arrived a t 1230, and the stop processing visa applications at 12. No amount of sweet talking could persuade them. With my plane leaving the following day, limited funds, and being alone in joburg, I knew I was a bad situation. The following day I went to see if I could get on the plane without a visa, ehm, apparently even for Chelsea Keyser, that is not allowed. (That is even with crying). So I changed my plane ticket to give me 4 more days in Joburg to get the visa, and tacked one 7 more days in India.

I camped out in the airport book store scouting out cheap hostels near the Indian embassy then . A chance, or good fortune would have it I ran into a man who ran a Buddhist center in joburg. He offered me accommodates for free, I eagerly took him up on the offer. But here's the icing on the cake, and one of the residents was the son of the Indian ambassador. So after a relaxing weekend at the Buddhist center, which included shopping, entered (and nearly had a panic attack) my first mall in 11 months, gourmet dinners, and meditation. The following Monday I drove to the embassy walked directly into the ambassadors office, accompanied by his son, had tea and got my visa.

The following morning I was on my way, 4 days later then expected but no worries.