Today was an awesome team bonding aka hanging out day. We didn’t have a wake up call so we could sleep in. This was, of course, the first night I had trouble sleeping! I woke up multiple times and then at 0430 I finally decided just to stay up. I was able to use the internet for the first time (hence the prior posts) and even e-mailed the fam bam. I ate oatmeal that I brought from home then went back to sleep for a little. After yet another yummy breakfast we headed to a Hindu temple in Guwahati.
*Not appropriate for 5th graders*
This temple is very special. The story is that a Goddess was cut into many pieces and her body parts were spread all over India. Sounds like a sacrificial ceremony probably. Her fingers (I think) were in Darjeeling (I think). In Guwahati lies her Yoni, aka her lady bits aka her privates. It is also said that there is a stream that runs through the temple but that for 5 days a month it is dry :) This was the first area that I saw a lot of beggars. They lined the small walkways and it was very hard to not give to them. However, I was warned by multiple not to give to the beggars especially in that situation because you will get surrounded in seconds. In the temple you can not wear shoes so right now I feel a bit dirty. There are alters every where in the city but especially beautiful ones within the temple. I was blessed a few times and watched a pigeon and goat sacrifice. I wasn’t sure how I might feel about watching a sacrifice but I knew I wanted to experience it. The sacrifice was very spiritual and as respectful as I think you could be when killing an animal. So there, I put it out there. I watched it, and I am glad I did. Cows here are holy so there are cows that walk freely through the temple and people bless and pray to them. The temple was such a good experience.
After that we headed to the Brahmaputra river and had a beautiful cruise around the river for lunch. This was probably my favorite meal so far. I have still been sticking to all veggies/carbs and avoiding meats and dairy. I have had some dairy in the teas (white tea) but that stuff is so boiling hot I’m pretty sure the parasites are dead. Still no upset stomach! Go me! The river ride was nice and relaxing and definitely a great way to get to talk to a lot of the team members. I ate at a table with two of the plastic surgeons, one from New Delhi and one from Boston, one anesthesiologist from South England and two other men from India. I realized about half way through the meal that I was eating my naan bread with my left hand. I was embarrassed until I noticed that the plastic surgeon from New Delhi also had his bread in his left hand. Oh well.
Next came my first shopping experience. We overwhelmed one little fabric store but I did find a few very nice things that I’m excited to give people! The women in the store just had to have their picture with us. So it turned into about 15 minutes of picture taking with the women of the fabric store. Now I am sitting waiting for the team meeting and dinner. Tomorrow we start 5 1/2 straight days of surgery. Waking up at 0530 and I’m sure not getting back to the hotel until 2000 at least. Sounds a lot like home! I can’t express how excited and honored I am to be a part of the surgeries. It is going to be long, crazy days but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else. I have been bitten by the mission bug officially. Speaking of bugs, no mosquito bites yet but there are TONS. I have no clue how I’ve evaded them!