Dear Blog readers,
Greetings from Bhagalpur!
My name is Joachim Hansdak. Thank you very much for giving me the opportunity to acquaint you of the journey I have been taking to visit families for the last two years. There is wonderful mixture of hardship and thrill in this work, and the work itself is very much fulfilling. It is my pleasure to give you the real stories, photos and other related information.
I have not deliberately avoided writing about hardships in this entry, lest the readers are moved with sympathy, but honestly I can say the eastern half of the project is relatively safe and smooth when traveling. The western half of the project is bit of concern, though to date nothing untoward has happen. But when I read newspapers, I do find some mishaps in these very places and roads I had just crossed. I just believe ìGodís work done in Godís way will never fail,î and perhaps this is the reason I have yet to come across any hardships.
Challenges in reaching out to families
Traveling to the subproject office does not pose much of a problem, but when I visit individual sponsored childrenís family home, it is. Further it also depends on what part of the year one is traveling. May and June are scorching months with temperatures soaring as high as 38 degrees Celcius or 101 degrees Fahrenheit.
|Some of the roads Joachim must travel can be very narrow and bumpy, which can make traveling difficult and time-consuming.|
Most of the villages are situated in rural, hilly and forest area. The path leading to these villages gets narrower and narrower. Majority of sponsored families are living scattered in this forest and hilly areas. So reaching the sponsored familiesí homes is very difficult, difficult in the sense that it is time consuming.
Monsoon commence from mid-June to mid-September. Since the roads are not concrete the motorcycle can get stuck in the loose soil. The families are engaged in cultivation so I avoid visiting for this period of time. Still if urgency is there I visit the family come what may, sometimes I leave my motorcycle in one village and walk to reach the concerned family.
Hospitality is warm as ever, and I forget the tiring journey I have just taken. I get to see elderly people working in the field, double or triple my age. Nothing can be more embarrassing than to say I am tired from the journey. There are some times I donít find them at home because information of my visit failed to reach them. Also, some people do some unskilled jobs, which may happen to be available on the very day I visit, and people cannot resist a handsome wage of Rs 80.00 (US$1.77).
Mode of transport
Most of the visits I have made to the subprojects have been by motorcycle, with occasional walking. But when we travel in group we take our office jeep. Of course there is a big cost difference between journeying by motor cycle and Jeep.
The furthest subproject Chirkee (CKI) is around 264 Kilometers and time taken to reach it is six hours. By the time one reaches there, one will have visited or passed by no less than a dozen subprojects. Motorcycles give one a liberty to choose multiple routes, and that can reduce the cost, but time spent traveling is more or less the same.
Frequency of visit
Apart from urgent visit, on average I visit all the subprojects twice in a year. Apart from my personal visits, I join the team visits also. The subproject staff usually do most of the family visits as and when required.
Without being immodest, on my personal visits, safety has never been a problem. I have grown up with bad roads, rain, thunderstorms, scorching heat, chilling temperatures, traffic jams, noise and pollution. My own family members and others in my village work under these trying condition. As a young boy just few years ago, I had also worked in the field under these very conditions. Yes, I would say I am ill at ease for safety reasons when I have traveled with Ilene (a CFCA-Kansas staff member) or for that matter traveling with mission awareness trip participants. Now that cell phones are operational everywhere, my concerns have eased somewhat. As I noted earlier, the western half of the project continues to be challenging. I make sure that journey is completed before dusk.
In the end, I would like to ask what is a Pilgrimage? Who do I see the in the form of poverty-ridden and needy person? Who do I visit in hospitals? For whom do I devout my time and energy? What is “living oneís faith”? Come and see a piece of heaven created here.
Each new trip taken unfolds a new experience, a new facet like a well-cut diamond: whichever way one views it, there are new colors to behold.
Bhagalpur field staff