Flipflops v. Monkeys
Her brown eyes blazed as she pulled off her left flip-flop and jumped into action. Screaming at the top of her lungs, she ran toward the monkeys that had started to attack one of our leaders, Joce.
This moment right here will forever be imprinted in my mind. Two of my girl teammates and I were sitting outside in the nice Indian sun discussing our experience visiting the Hindu temples, when all of the sudden we were surrounded by monkeys (not cute monkeys, they were evil demon possessed monkeys). We were trying to ignore them so they would stop coming near us when one of our leaders walked by to go into our room. The monkeys turned from us and started to surround her. They wanted whatever it was that was in her hand. They started to bare their teeth and threaten her.
Maritza, from the States, didn’t even think twice she got up ripped off her flip-flop and charged toward Joce and the monkeys. She started swinging her flip flop around like some kind of sword. When the monkeys realized that she wasn’t a huge threaten they started to turn on her. That is when I started to scream, “RUN, MARITZA! RUN!” and simultaneously she started to scream “DAVID!” (He was our official leader and tour guide for India). David started to run toward us as some Indian ladies started to as well. The Indian ladies started to pick up stones and with extreme precision they hit the monkeys right on their heads. The monkeys started to scatter and since we were all relieved that Maritza and Joce were still alive we started to die of laughter.
Maritza had thought she could take on vicious monkeys with a flip-flop.
Awestruck, Surreal, and Scary
We drove up a windy half dirt, half rock road on our way to a distant village.
As we drove up to this village men and boys started to come out of their homes and come near us. At first i felt fear as they may not want us in their village, but then a smile played across all of their faces. They greeted us so warmly saying “chai” and “sit”. They gave us chai and some bread, both were delicious. We sat down and started to drink our chai along with the men and boys. One of the men spoke English very well and said that they have only ever had 5 other visitors to their village before. He then said that we should have a tour and took us to different homes to meet all of the families in the village. As we went along we saw so many faces and were greeted with so many smiles. At a few homes we stopped and had some water (We were told not to drink any of the tap water, especially from the villages, but we were urged by the people to drink so we did.) and more chai.
As we made our way around we saw some women sitting so Maritza, Sabrina, and I decided to sit with them. The women looked at us and smiled. One of the younger girls ran off and brought back more chai. We drank and didn’t speak only smiling at each other. The women only knew Hindi and we only know our mother tongue.
As we sat staring at each other I pointed at the main ladies earrings and said “pretty”. She pointed at mine and displayed a brighter face. I then pointed at her nose piercing and again said “pretty”, she pointed at my nose and with her eyes asked “why”. – In the Indian culture married women have their nose pierced, so with me being 18 and not married it was a surprise to her.
Our conversation went on like this. Pointing. Touching. Eyebrow Raising. Laughing. Smiling. I didn’t know you could connect with people so immensely without even speaking their language.
Our conversations were cut short as we were called to see more by the head elder. He then showed us to their temple. We walked inside took off our shoes and began to see where these people worship their gods. The man that spoke, pretty good English then asked if we wanted to pray. Maritza said “Sure, but our God is not the same as yours.” The man said “That is okay, pray to your God.” So she did. She prayed out loud for God to bless these people and for more Christians to come and speak to these people.
When she was done praying we continued to talk. One of the older men came to us with flowers and was giving them to us. – In the Indian culture they typically give flowers as offering to their gods. Which meant he didn’t understand our concept of prayer and was wanting us to give an offering. – We declined the flowers and the man that spoke some English said, “For you to pray.”
We replied, “We already have.”
The look on the mans face was shock and misunderstanding. He couldn’t comprehend how one could pray without giving a offering. The confusion then turned to frustration. The man then aggressively asked, “What have you done? What did you pray?”
Maritza said, “I prayed a blessing.”
He became agitated because he didn’t understand what blessing meant. He asked her and she said “Good things.”
He didn’t like that answer. David then stepped in and said “For your cows to have milk. For you to have a good harvest. For good health for your people.” The man still didn’t understand. Other men and young boys started to gather around, there was 15 all around. The thought that crossed my mind was, “I never made it to France. Here I am in India. I will be killed here as well.” I started to pray silently to God. “Please God, Please. Please God, Please. Help us.”
I opened my eyes and the man looked at me. Maritza standing beside me. I then answered, “Good things for your people. You have been good to us. We want good for you.” Maritza then repeated what was said, because the man only wanted the answer to his question from Maritza.
The man looked at us harshly. Then a smile sprung on his face. The atmosphere changed and in a split second everything was great again. He said he understood and insisted that we stay.
We told them we had to go and they walked us back to our car.
Some little girls walked beside me. I stuck out my hand and they grabbed it, loosely. Since there was about 6 girls following they each took turns holding my hands.
The moments in the village were precious. We learned a lot about ourselves and the Indian people while being there. I will never forget their beautiful smiles and them waving as we drove off.