International Ministries

Ashika, Aama and Surekala

August 22, 2010 Journal
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“Hello! Hello!,” she shouts from our front door in her small sweet voice, which gets louder and louder if we don’t come right away.  With that we know that Ashika, our landlord’s daughter, has stopped by for a visit. When I get to the door, she continues with “Namaste! Good morning. How are you? I am fine.” Her slightly confused conversational skills give away her age of 3 years.

Then she asks if we can water the flowers in the pots I have around the front door and stairway porch.  So, I bring the water and she lovingly pours the water on the plants.  This is now our morning routine, but we were not always friends.

When we first arrived in February, she was quite shy, grabbing and hiding behind her mother’s skirt, so she couldn’t see us, nor we her, as they walked upstairs to their kitchen above ours.  

In April she started in Nursery Class at school learning simple English sentences that she would say aloud practicing them while walking up the stairs. My responding to her English sentences gave her the courage to stop and use them with me. Since our speaking Nepali to her helped in her becoming more accustomed to our being here, she eventually lost her fear. Since she eagerly learns whatever is taught, when I blow her a kiss when she departs, she catches it and blows one back. While I was thinking ‘what child doesn’t like to play with water,’ as she watched me watering the plants one day, she decided the next day that she was up to such a fun task.  And so our budding relationship blossomed.

Now feeling confident, she pulls opens the curtain hanging over our front door and calls “Hello! Hello!” and ventures a few steps into our apartment just to find out what I’m doing in the kitchen, or to greet us and then tell us she’s going either upstairs or downstairs, and says, “good bye,” blowing and catching kisses as she continues on her way.  

During the day Ashika and her mother, Surekala, who teaches at the same school, are gone. So, when I go upstairs to hang out the laundry, I meet Aama, Ashika’s grandmother, who being lonely always invites me to sit with her in the shade of the hallway.  Even though she’s hard of hearing, we sit and talk together, primarily about our families. She has a hard time understanding the differences in our cultures. She does not understand why we are not busy finding spouses for our unmarried children. Or how can it be that our children, Bryan and Valerie, aren’t living in our house and that Jyoti and Wes aren’t living with Wes’ family? Yet she tells her friends about our friendship and our differences quite accurately, so I know she has understood what I have said.

And yet, we do have similarities. Her son is the eldest, followed by two daughters, just like my children. Her two daughters live in Kathmandu and Pokhara, not here in Besishahar, where she lives with her son and his family. We join together in missing our daughters. And both of us experience the aches and pains of growing older.

Though we are the same age—indeed, I might be slightly older than she—I still call her Aama, which means ‘mother,’ as she is the respected senior member in her family household. Indeed, it was her vote of approval, not his wife’s, in the decision that the landlord would move his family out of the rooms in which they were living so we could live in them.

Even though Surekala is a busy wife, mother, daughter-in-law, and teacher, she still has time to answer my questions about how to cook some vegetables I’ve never seen before, or help me separate the stones from the lentils I’m cleaning.

You’ve just met the female members of our new extended family whom I relate to everyday.  It is wonderful to have good relations with our landlord’s family and to enjoy their company daily.  Jesus said we are to let our light shine in the world. Pray for my being a light to them in our daily encounters.

Your praying for us, giving to our support and the World Mission Offering allows us to be a light here in Besishahar.

Please pray that our light will bring Him glory.

Thanking you,