My visit to India has been most enriching. This is the best kind of tourism: to stay in one place and talk and listen to people. My Hindi is getting better with each visit. Though my collection of books to read in Hindi is growing, so I plan to work on developing that skill over the next year.
I was glad to get some very good input on my book, but the greatest blessing was to talk with people about their own heritage. There is a certain urgency as people recognize that the holders of the oral traditions are passing on. It was encouraging to see a number of people who wish to form a community of writers to encourage each other in the effort to preserve heritage.
We shared various stories we wrote down, stories of faith and courage. I will share a simple example from one of the stories:
An old couple who had been the leaders of a Hor tribal
community once had run out of food. I young lad came and
told them that the leaves of the tree outside their house was
good for food. He made them a meal, and when it was cooked,
it boiled down into a very small portion. So for this small portion
the old man gave a very very long prayer.
It was the long prayer for such a small portion that we laughed about, I pointed out it was symbolic of what we were talking about. The old couple had forgotten their indigenous wisdom, that God has provided abundantly for the needs of people. It had to be a young person to remind them that such knowledge was important. The overflowing gratitude for even the smallest effort or portion is very much expressed by the people.
The rest of my time was a period of reflection on the importance of the 100 years of autonomy that the Christians of this region are celebrating. Autonomy from outside/foreign administration. They face many challenges as they deal with generational, gender, cultural, political, regional, and socioeconomic differences, and how to follow the way of the Spirit of God. I am so inspired by them and am so humbled by how they warmly welcome me to share in their journey. I think my great great grandfather Ferdinand Hahn who lived here 108-150 years ago would be very happy that I am taking time to pass time with them.
I also had good conversations about minority rights and issues (particularly Christian and tribal) in Delhi, where I stayed at the beautiful JNU campus. I had the blessing to witness how Urban Oraon Christians celebrate harvest festival.
These musings include the journey of my writing on the history of my great great grandparents and the travels for research to India, Germany and other places of interest.