The traffic in India takes some getting used to. Cars, rickshaws, motorcycles, scooters, and people are everywhere! You can reach out your window and touch the car next to you. The side mirrors on motorcycles come within centimeters of your vehicle. And no one stays in their lanes. Even when you’re driving an hour up a mountain on steep, windy roads.
Sometimes our taxi driver will honk before rounding a corner to let oncoming cars know of his presence. Other times, he veers into the other lane and just wings it! My traveling companion, Anil, asks me if we have these types of mountain roads in the U.S. “Yes,” I explain, “but we stay in our own lane.” That makes him smile.
It’s Friday and I’m still very jetlagged. I enter through the back of the meeting room to find about 30 people turning to see who caused this disruption. Our co-founder, Mala, waves me up to sit next to her in the front row. The men and women in this room are the ones making our mission of Rescue, Restoration, and Justice a reality here in India. I can’t keep all of their names straight, but I want to meet them, know them, and learn from them. Why do you do this work? What is the hardest part of your job? What is the best part? These are questions I will be able to ask over the next 7 days as I travel to Ooty, Pune, Nagpur, and Kolkata to visit our offices and workshops. For now, I’m going to listen and soak it all in.
After my first good night's sleep in 4 days, I’m back in that same meeting room, surrounded by Freedom Firm staff singing worship songs in Hindi. It’s a beautiful thing to be reminded that God’s people are His people no matter where we are or what language we sing in. We share communion together and then go outside in the beautiful weather to enjoy a “photo shoot” before everyone begins their travels back to their respective cities and offices. But we have one more thing to do first… a visit to the Ooty office.