poitu varam

THE CHRONICLES OF A FLEDGLING MISSIONARY CALLED JOLLYBEGGAR "i still gaze fondly at all of the pictures, drink ginger beer, bunch my food, listen to punjabi dj tunes, play my dholki, wear my sarong (around the house only because in canada it is still really uncommon for a man to wear a wraparound skirt in public) and speak way too much of the differences between east and west..."

Monday, August 15, 2005

the morning after

august 15: monday: day 6 (part 1)

just to the left of the green auto is the internet cafe that i frequented to stay in touch with the western world through internet and phone services. i'm sure that the little guy who worked in there lived in there! any time, day or night- same guy...
either that or he was cloned.

running down the negombo sidewalks at 6:30 in the morning, one does not experience civil war... one experiences community.

"hellooo- gooood moaning"

it is not until one runs through streets that reek of garbage, excrement and exhaust in 98% humidity that one treasures everyday fresh air.

as i ran, i realized something shocking: i'm lucky (or blessed) that satan didn't kick my spiritual ass... i mean, i've been accepting answers to the prayers of others, but i've been laying down only provisional cover myself.

some other (not so heavy) things that i realized i had learned so far:

  • the post-shower shuffle. after showering, you do this side-step thing to shoop all the water on the floor back into the shower, as the shower 'stall' is merely a square of the washroom sunken about 3 inches with taps, a shower head and no curtains.
  • you must duck when coming through some doorways, as the people are smaller and therefore so are the doorways... likewise, the chairs are always set closer together with less legroom.
  • say 'no' to a peddlar without robbing him/her of dignity and self-respect. it's his or her job/contribution to the economy. be firm but warm.

of all the things dan told me, there was only one that i wished he had kept to himself: although the women in this culture are not as heavily exploited by the sex trade as in other parts of the world, young boys and young men are. one will sometimes see a middle-aged, business-type western having a beverage with a handsome (you would probably have to say 'beautiful') fit young guy.

this info made me feel uncomfortable- mainly because i kept wondering if people were presuming things about me whenever i (40-ish white guy) started talking to a young man for everyday reasons. however, you can't let that stuff interfere with the relationships that you have been sent by God to cultivate.

the other night coming back from the internet cafe (where i had been emailing mrs jollybeggar with news) a three-wheeler auto pulled up and the driver said
"hey, you want to go to a dance? very nice girls- come, i take you there..."

yeah, although above i said "as heavily..." it still happens. i think it's probably only the girls that are doing the dancing... i guess the snake uses these taxis for his work too. (thinking of mohamed.)

i made some appointments with peddlars the evening before to come back the following sunday (day 11- our last full day in sri lanka) because i didn't want to take souvenirs with me. this meant that i didn't have to do any shopping or haggling then. good plan- that stuff is a hassle.

at the internet cafe, i read an email from mrs jollybeggar which began with 'well, there were no exorcisms in church here today!'

yep, that first sunday was an incredible day- i wrote over twenty minimead pages of journals covering that day alone, and probably left out twenty pages more.


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