Posts Tagged ‘ India ’

The Challenge of Africa

For the past several days, I have had the privilege of joining a group of students studying leadership in global perspectives.  They come from a variety of backgrounds – both nationally and vocationally. It’s been a wonderful experience thus far, and one that has challenged our comfort levels, our categories of understanding, and how we interact with our home contexts. So far, our time has been in Nairobi, Kenya, but we’ll be heading to Ethiopia soon. One of the things we’ve done is spend time in a slum called Mathare. It’s not the biggest slum in Nairobi, but it is home to about 800,000 people. I’ve had previous experiences in slums here in Nairobi, in Dominican Republic, and in India (including the one on display in Slumdog Millionaire), so I was somewhat prepared for what I’d see. It’s pretty jarring, though – seeing children with little or no clothing, running […]

India Journal: Progress in the Midst of Pain

As I mentioned in another recent post, I just completed spending several days in India.  I also said that, having spent nearly three weeks in Delhi, and some of the north/central parts of the country about 18 months ago, I was eager to come back, and to explore some of the other cities that I’ve heard so much about, namely Mumbai and Bangalore. While these two cities are very different in some obvious ways, they are still India.  And for someone from the outside, that can be jarring.  I think that given that I’d been here before, I underestimated the impact that being here would have on me.  My hotel in Mumbai was within a half-mile of one of the largest shanty cities in the world – go watch this clip from Slumdog Millionaire, and you’ll see it for yourself.  It’s right there next to the airport.  I’m glad I […]

How to DRAW a Crowd in Mumbai

I have recently completed a brief visit to Mumbai, India.  It’s something I had been looking forward to for a long time.  As you may know, I had the opportunity to spend almost three weeks in India in the summer of 2008.  There’s something about this place that grabs you.  I had a sense when I left last year that I would be back. When planning my itinerary, I wanted to visit some other cities in India that I hadn’t seen before, so rather than returning to Delhi (which I strongly considered doing, in order to see friends there), I decided to go to Mumbai and Bangalore – two very important cities when it comes to globalization, and the rapidly growing future of India. I was in central Mumbai on a Sunday afternoon, walking around, seeing the city.  It’s different in many way from Delhi, similar in many others.  As […]

My Advent in Bangalore

As I was preparing to go to Bangalore, I was in my hotel room in Mumbai, near the airport.  Being a budget traveler, I had booked the hotel there at a cheap price, compared to most hotels in Mumbai.  The fact that it had its own bathroom and an internet connection were nice frills.  I went online to book my hotel for Bangalore, and found that the rooms are generally a good bit cheaper there, which was a relief.  I looked around, comparing properties, and finally settled on one that looked like a real bargain – what looked to be a higher-end hotel that was running a special that made it basically the same price as the other rooms in the area, and the same price as my room in Mumbai. I’m writing this post from my hotel.  Yes, these pictures are of my hotel room.  Yes, inIndia.  No, I […]

Dissertate This! pt. 2

Here’s my second post taking a trip through the dissertation that kept me busy over the past few years.  In my previous post, I talked about the rapid spread of Christianity in the global South and East, even at the same time as there has been a noted downturn in Christian practice here in the Western world.  While asking questions about what “we” in the West can learn from our sisters and brothers in other contexts, I thought it was also important to address one of the essential realities of our time – globalization.  <PAUSE: I just got THE biggest guilty pleasure inserting that link for globalization – the link is to Wikipedia.  Citing Wikipedia as a source in academia is a major no-no, so I had to do it here for kicks> Thomas Friedman brought the topic of globalization to the masses in his book The World is Flat, […]

Movie Review: Slumdog (Untouchable) Millionaire

Note: This isn’t really a movie review per-se.  It’s more of a reflection from a guy who doesn’t watch many movies, and is, therefore, unqualified for such a task. This weekend I followed the masses and went to a theater to watch the recent Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire.  I had heard from a wide variety of people how good the movie was.  I had heard a couple of radio interviews with the director as well.  The fact that the film told the story of extreme poverty in India, which I was able to witness first-hand last summer, was all the motivation I needed to see it. The movie was as good as advertised.  It tells a compelling story of survival, love, and faithfulness.  It does so while giving a glimpse of the complex changes taking place in India – the extreme disparity between the super-wealthy and the slums.  The framing device […]

India Journal: Art with a Conscience

One of the unexpected highlights of our trip to India was meeting Stefan Eicher at the art gallery that he opened earlier this year in Delhi.  Hearing his story was wonderful, and hearing his calling was even better. Stefan sticks out in India the way we did – with his white skin and Western looks.  But he is an Indian citizen.  He grew up in India, and that is his home, despite an American lineage.  He went to college in the U.S., but returned.  He has a deep soul, and a desire to use the gifts of God in a way that changes the world. Stefan is a part of a group called Artnet, “a community of artists – musicians, vocalists, painters, graphic designers, and many others – who desire to see society transformed through God’s effective use of our artistic skills.” He is a multi-talented artist himself, but when […]

India Journal: Eunuchs

This is our team, with our friend, Deshpande.  He’s a part of the Truthseekers team in Delhi.  He walked the streets and train stations with us, translated for us, insisted on carrying our luggage, took an ailing team member to see a doctor late at night, and many other things for which we’re grateful. Deshpande’s desire to serve others is constantly evident.  But his love for God and people also expresses itself in a unique, and difficult calling.  He is beginning a ministry in Delhi to reach out to India’s eunuch and prostitute community.  In India, the eunuchs, or hijras as they are referred to, consider themselves a third gender.  Very rarely will someone be born that way . . . all the rest are adopted into the hijra community through an “operation,” which is actually a ritual that I won’t go into here (for the strong-stomached, you can read […]

India Journal – USAmerican politics

O.k., this post is a quickie.  One of the funny, unexpected things about meeting and talking with people in India was their interest in the U.S. presidential election this year.  More often than not, when I would meet someone on the street or in a shop or wherever, they would ask, “Where are you from?”  Resisting the temptation to say, “Canada,” I would tell them I was from the U.S.  Upon hearing this, I would rapidly get peppered with questions like, “Is Obama going to win?”  I’d tell them that the polls were close, and we’d have to wait and see, but I’m pretty sure everyone I talked to said they hoped Obama would win.  It’s very clear to me that if India could vote in our elections, McCain (known in India as “Who’s that?”) could start his retirement planning early. Obama seems to be as popular in India as […]

India Journal – Central India

About a week and a half into our time in India, we boarded a train for a 13 hour overnight trip to central India.  We were in one of the nicer trains – air conditioned, sleeper cars.  The train cars have multiple sleeper sections, which are shared by eight or nine people – each with it’s own “bed.”  Gettin’ cozy with strangers!  But having seen the second class cars (no AC, and a heckuva lot cozier with a LOT more strangers), we were quite content with our travel accommodations.  The picture to the train station – masses of people crashed out everywhere, waiting to get on board the packed trains. We got off the train in a city called Indore.  Pretty big town, but nothing compared to Delhi.  We were there to participate in a two-day seminar for Dalits and OBCs (see my previous post on caste if you don’t […]