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..."

Thursday, August 18, 2005

pictures and an exhibition

august 18: thursday: day 9 (part 4)
taking pictures after the ordination service, the funniest ones by far involved the youth.

the two rather sunny-looking people in the back are colleen and me. .. in the front row (although i'm so frustrated that i don't have their names- colleen probably has them in her journals) is the singing group consisting of lazarus' two daughters flanking robert's daughter (jesuthas' sister) here, with their attorney in black, wearing the cool poncho-thing refered to below. then of course there is jesuthas and isac.

first, there was prince (jay's son, the
dolkie player, who eventually took the shot above- the abandoned dolkie to the right represents him) who couldn't figure out the digital camera, standing there with a completely baffled look on his face reminiscent of steve martin's 1979 schtick ('this camera is so simple that even an idiot...' poof, the camera's flash goes off right in his face) trying to sort it all out; then isac took a pictue when nobody was ready and the whole group (but particularly the girls) exploded with tamil versions of 'HEY, WAIT UNTIL WE'RE READY, DUMBASS!'... well finally when isac did get it together, he completely cut jesuthas' and my heads from the frame.

i asked the girls at lunch where i could get one of those cool 'girl pancho' backwards scarf things. apparently i just need to go shopping in colombo... one of the girls spoke english more clearly and fluently than i'd heard- even smoother in accent than ben! she intends to become a lawyer.

trio: jesuthas, me and isac
as we ate together, jesuthas, isac and i laughed a lot. these guys had such warmth and silly humour that the laughter was always easy with them. of course it was a great novelty item to have this stupid canadian bunching his food at your table, rather than eating with cutlery at his. still, who knew when i would see these guys again? i was determined to drink deeply of their friendship in whatever way i could.

at one point, isac looked into my plate and asked 'what's this?'

i proceded to provide him with the english phrase 'green beans', thinking (presuming) that he was asking for an english lesson. he looked at me with one of those 'do i look stupid to you?' looks and tried again.

'what's this?'
'curried fish'
'this?' (back to the green beans again... i was beginning to feel like i was the one receiving the lesson, but it was happening in a roundabout way.)
'green beans'
'and this?' (the penny dropped- i could see now that there was something- in fact many somethings- nestled in with my green beans that were decidedly NOT green beans!)
'aaah- pepper!'

from here i was instructed to not, under any circumstances, eat one of these because they would make my eyes water. yep, it was a dare. being the performing monkey that i have let myself become over the years, i stuffed the thing into my mouth and proceeded to chew it in defiance (knowing that you are not supposed to chew these things if you want to avoid the power surge.)

lucky for me, this was a mild one. made me look like a star. isac brought water and i waved it off. after the second one i was grateful for it, however. these things were heavy fuel.

still, i wouldn't have traded that fire for comfort. that fire was because of a friendship that had even extended to the humiliation of your buddy. only the deepest friendships are mutually permitted to go there.

at the missions district meeting, lazarus passes me a pack of photos showing gifts received (bicycles, sewing machines, fans, a motorcycle, power saws etc) and tsunami rubble. this is part of the sharing of oneself.

i think it's fair to say that i've fallen in love with this land and its people.

many warm poitu varams and many photographs, that the faces would not be permitted to fade from memory.

al and i visited together until late in the night, talking about church buildings, servant hearts, idolatry, music, beatles records that got away and whatever else. this friendship i share with him is a blessed, unassuming thing.


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