Aligarh, India. May 18th. 8,021 Miles from Atlanta:
Bru and I are buddies now as a result of our various challenges, he with sight and me with sewing skill. As you know, we have been working at Bru's school this week. Yesterday, I attempted to teach him how to sew a flower out of beautiful cloth even as I was trying to learn the skill myself from one of our McAfee students. Together Bru and I managed to thread a needle. Fearlessly he plunged ahead pushing needle through cloth with no apparent regard for the possibility that he might prick a finger.
We were to sew six folded circles together to create petals and then we were to sew a button in the middle to create the flower. I quickly figured out that Bru and I were never going to make it. Around us, other students were creating flowers with some assistance from teachers who could actually sew. Bru's challenge was a poor teacher, not a lack of vision.
Then, there it was! A rose appeared out of nowhere, a combination of Bru's determination to stick that needle through cloth and my pitiful effort to guide his hand to the right place to stick it.
I quickly slipped the needle out and he and I started tying off the bottom of the flower. It was a proper rose, one of the prettiest I had ever seen.
He took it around and showed it off. And I asked him for a picture of the three of us.
Aligarh Muslim University - May 16th:
Good morning from India! I was awakened this morning about 4:30 a.m. by the call to prayer that emanated from the minarets of this predominately Muslim city in the north central part of the country. It truly is a powerful expression of the central role that prayer plays in the lives of Muslims everywhere.
We are staying on the campus of Aligarh Muslim University in a very nice guesthouse and have been enjoying some good Indian food and hospitality. After arriving at 2 am at the airport in Delhi, we climbed on a bus and took a two hour trip to the University. After some breakfast and a nap, we went over to the Ahmadi School for Visually Challenged children where we were welcomed warmly, gave gifts of braille books to the children and planned our work together with the teachers for the rest of this week. I can't describe the emotions I felt as the children proudly stood and, one after another, read from their new books.
Later, believe it or not, we were treated to a cricket match between two of the school's teams! You might wonder how children who are blind or who can barely see can play cricket. Well, the ball contains metal balls in it that rattle when the ball is thrown, and the kids listen for the sound and somehow manage to put bat to ball! It is an impressive sight!
We start our provram today with them as our twelve students lead a curriculum of English, music and craft classes. I will keep you posted on how it all goes!
Thanks for your prayers for a safe journey and for the time we will spend here!
One final note . . . they announced on the flight over that, for safety sake, all passengers should stay in their seats while praying. This was meant to ensure that Muslim faithful would not block the aisles at prayer time by kneeling.
It made me reflect that perhaps we miss something sometimes when we stay in our seats and not on our knees in prayer . . . .