The Hard Way

The teacher, John the Mennonite.

Last weekend Heidi and I tagged along with Dave, Delia and their four month old bambino on an overnight trip to see a friend that lives up the valley from Samique past Wachochi. A location becomes a village when more than one family lives there and from a distance you can spot a town by the cleared ground for growing corn. John the Mennonite lives in just such a place, two hours walk from the nearest road and road is a loose translation of a sketchy logging trail where Dave should never drive his van. You can easily spot John from a distance and recognise him by his lanky body and long stride lengthened by hundreds of miles of trail troding in his sandals cut from a car tire and skinny Amish beard squaring off his ruddy good looks. John seems wise beyond his years and talks easily and honestly of the trials and problems he has and sees and the joy in his life pours out of his body like water from a spring. John originally hailed from Tennessee but God clearly placed him with the Tarahumura Indians and he came and found a bright eyed young Tarahumare to marry and now he is sowing his oats evidenced by two rugged children. John has hewn out a life for himself in this jagged rock strewn territory but it was his sweet tooth what allowed me the chance to meet him in the first place. He had come to town, a full days walk with the children, to get his fill of Coke and cookies and run a few errands before strapping on the kids and hiking the eight hours back home! Every Sunday John leaves at dawn and walks to several villages to share what he has learned from the Bible as most of the people can not read and there are very few writings in the Tarahumura language. He returns before the sun makes its exit from the evening sky, on most nights, to enjoy his family. It is interesting experiencing the adventure of the teachers life when it has worn off for them but through our eyes still vivid, dangerous, and strangely alluring.

The days and nights since then have been filled with projects, chief among them for me is helping Dave complete the annual inspection on the super cub they use for the mission hospital. For Heidi, helping out at the hospital and hanger where ever needed has been her work de jouir. On the mundane side several of Heidi's hours were filled by plucking a pinch of cotton from a pile to make a cotton ball while listening to the fellow laborers talk, in Spanish, about all the goings on around the place. Heidi has also been asked to cut and paint and install trim in the guest bedroom and tend to the home made water filter that is being tested for use with the locals for personal use. We are stoked to feel needed and soaking up the experience, loving every minute of it!!

There exists no politician in India daring enough to attempt to explain to the masses that cows can be eaten.


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