Monday, October 20, 2014

One Good Man

We have become really attached to our driver, Sabby. I would never survive India if it wasn't for him taking care of us and handling all the crazy things that we don't understand. So when I found out his birthday was coming up and that his family hasn't celebrated it since he was 10 years old (his dad died on his birthday that year), I knew we had to do something special for him. We got him a gift and made him a chocolate cake covered in candles and told him to take it home and celebrate with his family.

He still hasn't gotten over that simple thing. He didn't want to disrespect his dad, so the entire family waited up the night before until 12:03 am to sing and eat the cake. He talks about how that was the greatest thing anyone has ever done for him. So when my birthday rolled around, Sabby showed up with his family, a lovely chocolate cake, and sang their hearts out for me - all because we made his birthday special.

They traditionally feed each other a bite of cake and would not have a piece until Ty fed me a bite and then I had to feed him one. They were so sweet! It was a big sacrifice for them to come do this.

So when I saw a chance to do something nice back, I took it. This past week Sabby had to send a substitute driver because his children came down with the Dengue fever which requires daily trips to the hospital to check the platelet count. I was running errands in his neighborhood and asked if I could drop off some ice cream for the children. I expected to just hand the ice cream to him, but he surprised me once again and insisted I come up to his apartment.

This is his entire apartment. Behind the curtain is a very small stove and refrigerator and a mattress that his mother and adopted niece sleep on. The picture is taken from the doorway. Everyone sleeps on the floor in about the spots where they are sitting. Lol, they all stood in their sleeping spots for me, except for the two extra extended family members who sleep in the hallway because there isn't any room left inside.

I also found out that in addition to caring for his niece and nephew (who he adopted when they were small children), he also cares for 2 of his wife's nephews from her village (the hall sleepers), and then these three cute nieces who live too far from a good school. But, he assured me, they only stay there Monday through Friday. This good man feeds and cares for all of these people in this tiny place (10 of them!) plus others that live in his wife's village. I was suddenly very embarrassed by the size of our apartment and the fact that there's only two of us...

As if Sabby wasn't already saintly enough, when he heard I was stopping by he went out and bought chips and a soda so he would have something to offer me. They all stood/sat watching me eat. No one else would have any with me - they considered it rude to eat with such an important guest. Sabby even called the entire family home and placed me in the seat of honor next to his beautiful mother. You can see my tray reflected in the mirror along with Sabby's son Mavrick who, despite feeling miserable was a great host himself.

They were so honored that I would come visit them in their tiny home. They treated me like a was a queen! When I finally convinced them that I needed to go and that they needed their rest, I was walked down the hall and introduced to neighbors as "Madam." They were so proud that I would come visit them. And here I thought I was going to do them a good (but quick) deed and they ended up showing me what it means to be a good person. India is full of surprises.

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