Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Branch Beach Activity

On one of India's many holidays, our branch decided to have an activity 3 hours away at a beach. For weeks the chatter at church was solely on this grand adventure which grew in exuberance as the members found out we would be traveling by an air conditioned bus instead of the more prevalent no air kind. Indian people are ridiculously late to things - several hours, a day, or even a week or two are shrugged off as normal - so a 20 minute lecture on timeliness was adamantly stressed. No one wanted to miss this incredible chance to go on a holiday for free and proved it by being at the pick-up spots before the sun rose. So many unplanned members showed up that the bus had no room left. No problem - they all piled in anyway three to a seat while Ty & I willingly sacrificed our place and followed in our car. It was an excellent choice as a number of members were repeatedly sick from the travel conditions.

The three hour drive through the countryside was quite the experience. The national "highway" turned out to be a narrow two-lane road so full of potholes we never reached 30 mph. No one stays in their lane (the picture below on the left is supposed to be two-ways) and every few minutes we'd have a traffic jam when oncoming traffic forced drivers to merge into their own side of the road.


The countryside was full of brightly colored houses (bungalows) that were beautiful and unique. I finally understood why all the Indian trucks are painted like they are - the drivers come from the countryside villages and miss the vibrant colors once they are in the concrete city.


Some of the members had never been to a beach and all of them were thrilled with the opportunity. But I was surprised to see that none of them brought swim wear - they all just wandered right out into the ocean in the clothes they were wearing and would wear for the rest of the day. They thought the pony and cart rides up and down the beach were 'fantastic!'

But by far the highlight of the day were the games. To be honest, when I heard they were playing games after lunch at a nearby restaurant, I assumed people would rather swim and that the children would be impossible to keep from the water. I was oh so wrong. The adults completely ignored the children - they were so excited to play the games from their childhood that I think they forgot they even had children! Their favorite is kabbadi - the state's national sport. You have two teams that take turns crossing the center line to try and touch an opposing team member while continuously chanting "kabbadi". If they manage to touch someone and get back safely across the line, the person they touched is out. If not, if they are tackled or pushed out of bounds, then they are out. Huge debates were a standard part of every turn.

Ty's huge size made him a mvp for his team and a dreaded opponent for the other. After he mistakenly dragged two players over the line instead of just touching them, the other team ganged up on him.

The huge success of the branch activity and the kabbadi games have continued to be a hot topic at church to the point that an investigator family who attended requested Ty to baptize the dad. It seems he was very impressed with his size and his gaming strategy :) I can't wait to see what they come up with for the next event!

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