We were up at 3:15 am to catch our 6:00 am flight from Bangalore to Narsapur. The driver took us from the Hotel to the Bangalore airport. The airport turned out to be an adventure of sorts.
We get to the airport and notice all the armed guards on top of the airport looking down with their guns in hand. We get to the entrance of the airport and we are not allowed in for improper paperwork. Our
itineraries were not enough to get us in the door with our passports. My mom then had to pay a few rupees( Indian money) to get new ones printed and we proceeded into the airport. Once we get to the counter, the flight attendant let us know that are bags were over-weight with books, home goods, and goodies for the kids. Now they were never over-weight on the way here. So we scramble again and move things around and again have to pay a little excess to get going on the flight. Mom was a trooper and calmly handled the situation as things kept coming up. You might think that this was enough adventure for us, but there was more. At this point the flight is boarding and we are clearing security at yet another checkpoint after 4 checks at this point. This time it was me, Neha, I had forgotten to take scissors out of my pencil pouch and we made it all the way here across two major international airports undetected. Not in India. They pull me aside and my bag and ask me to take scissors out of my bag. Of course , my mom interjects with, “We have no scissors in our bags.” I then quietly piped up with, “Yes, I might have some in my bag.” Sure enough we found the scissors and then they proceeded to check and stamp all of our bags, so we thought. We then go to another checkpoint, where we are stopped for not having all the stamps we need from the previous checkpoints and have to run back as they are calling for a final boarding call.
After a short flight to Vijawada, we finally make it to the airport to meet Chris Hopf and James Bob at the airport. We were thankful to see some familiar faces and excited about the next part of our trip. Chris told us to brace ourselves for the exciting driving through rural India as it takes 2 hours to get to Narsapur.
We loved our ride to Narsapur seeing all the rice patties, agricultural lands, coconut trees, and finally cows on the street. I was amazed to see how people transported rice on their back, or using a cycle rickshaw, or any mode of transportation they could think of. They were always stable and somehow managed to weave in and out of traffic. I was even more amazed how the people looked just like my mom’s family and me. I could already sense that this was going to be an amazing day when we arrived to meet the girls.
We arrived at Joythi Nivas home were the girls greeted us with an amazing welcome with garlands and song. It warmed my heart to see how excited they were to see us. They did not realize that the blessing was ours to be with them. It was no time at all and we were all friends. Mom remembered many of the girls and she was starting to speak Telugu. This was amazing to watch her know a different language other than English and the girls loved making fun of her accent. We spent most of the day getting acquainted with the girls and spending time with them. I have made some life-long friends today.
Mrs. Brenna, started the teaching sessions that evening with the girls as they sang songs and heard her message. God has truly blessed our first day here. The girls are so open and honest about their lives. I have learned so much about how they have lost many of their parents, their difficult circumstances and more.
Let me just say the food has been amazing here. I must truly be from this region, because I love Andhra food. I need to let my dad and siblings back home know that mom and I are not starving but rather gaining weight here.