Wednesday, July 15, 2015

15 July 2015

This week has been the craziest yet, and that's saying a lot. Last week, we did a whole lot of visiting less actives, and trying to visit our investigators for the last time before Elder Willis went home. That went pretty well, but I remember next to none of it. The latest events kind of overshadowed that...
In India, there is a festival called Pushkaral that happens every year, rotating around the 12 holy rivers of India. This year, it was Rajamundry's turn, with the Godavri river. Whenever there is a Pushkaral, people flock to the river of the year to take a dip in it, from all over India, as a Hindu religious thing.They are usually pretty massive. However, this was the 12th Pushkaral to happen there since the last 12th Pushkaral, so this one is insanely massive. As in, 2,500,000 people are expected to go to Rajamundry alone in under two weeks, the duration of Pushkaral. There are a whole load of other cities along the Godavri that are getting even more people. We got shifted out of Rajamundry for Puskaral, for a few reasons. First, it's going to be almost exclusively Hindus there. Second, it'll be a huge party. And finally, Rajamundry's population is going to explode, so it will be really hard to do anything. Oh, and on the first day already, 27 people were trampled to death when the Prime Minister took his dip. The rest of the two weeks will be even worse as more people show up. Luckily, I'm 1000 kilometers away right now!
All the Rajamundry missionaries are in Hyderabad right now. It's a lot more of a big city than most areas on the mission, but you'll still find cows, dogs, and more on the streets. The biggest difference is that you'll find cars and shops of all kinds here. Oh, and the power doesn't go out every time it rains! Proselyting in Hyderabad is a lot different, too. We can't wear nametags, and try to avoid anyone wearing a red dot on their face. That is a sign that they belong to a majorly antiChristian group. People here speak a lot more, and better, English, thankfully.
Yesterday, we had a crazy p day. The zoo in Hyderabad is always closed on Mondays, but because p day got shifted to Tuesday, missionaries could go! And so we did. I heard that it's the biggest zoo in Asia, but it's still a little smaller that the Indianapolis zoo. What's more, they only charge 50 cents to get in. Unfortunately, they charge for everything else that is possible to charge for. If you want to bring a bag in, too bad. You have to check it. 20 rupees! Do you want to get into certain exhibits? 10 rupees! How about a drink? 20 rupees! It had some cool animals in there though- like an exhibit where fruit bats flew around freely, and weren't separated from you in any way. The cage was underground and the entrances were covered in plastic so they couldn't leave, but that was it. It was awesome! I can't send any pictures right now, because I'm using a virus-laden net cafe computer, but I'll send them out eventually. After we went to the zoo, we headed back. It was a one hour bus ride there, but a two hour ride back because of traffic. When we got to the chapel we all met at, we started emailing. There wasn't enough computers there for all of us, so we were going to take turns, but we had to leave before we could all go. By the time we got back to our area, all the net cafes were closing. That's why I'm only emailing today.

It sounds like you had fun at girls camp! It rained last night, hard enough to cover half the roads in a foot of water. Maybe they put you in that capstone course because you are finishing! And as for things to send, could you send some family photos that are waterproofed in some way? Everyone here has them, and all the members and investigators ask to see them. They have to be waterproofed because walking or cycling in the rain gets you wet pretty quickly. Other than that, things are pretty good over here. I've decided what I'm getting myself for my birthday- a camera with an optical zoom, and can see in less than sunlight. You can find cameras for super cheap over here!

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