AMDG

It has been a lovely experience celebrating Easter here.  I keep on pinching myself, it is great to stay here and I am savouring as much as I can.  The ceremonies were all in the local language Kannada, which is impenetrable for me, the ancient script is impossible to read as it is alphasyllabary.  There are 49 letters, 13 vowels, consonants and other letters that are part vowel-part consonant. An ancient Dravadic language – the number of written symbols is far greater than the 49 characters, as they form compound characters. Suffice to say – I cannot even attempt to read the Missal, so felt pretty useless during the celebrations!  On Easter Sunday morning – with 5 other priests –  we blessed 200 houses in the village (or so I was told).  I was surprised that quite a few houses were stuffed full with cotton – evidently the price in the local market is too low so they are keeping it in storage and waiting for a market fluctuation.  I was accompanied by a young Jesuit, who was a great help. Very politely and quietly he informed me that the word for peace was ‘shanti‘.  I had gone into the first few houses –  confidently greeting them with ‘ashanti‘. This, I was informed means ‘violence’ !  Not a good start for a house blessing.  Nevertheless I was still greeted with warm smiles and reverence!

The heat has been slowly climbing and now mid-afternoon it can climb over 40 degrees. In the villages everyone dives for the shade, and there is a lot of snoozing and resting.  Yesterday it was so hot that we had a convection storm.  It was the first rain for months and it was lovely to walk in the damp air afterwards and smell the heat and steam in the fields.  The dust briefly was gone and ground itself seemed content and sated.  I was impressed to see the rainwater harvesting in the student hostel – with that one storm filling a 500 liter barrel to overflowing.  Water – as in many places – is a precious commodity, so teaching the children to use it carefully and wisely and showing them how to collect it are useful life-skills.   There is some evidence that the water table is falling in the area, so this is something to worry about in the future.  A great initiative of Fr Eric is the large lake on site which is used for farming fish. (inspired by a trout farm in North Wales!).  Of course this lake is great for collecting the water, especially during the monsoons.  At the moment the heat is so oppressive that most of us have now taken to sleeping on the roof of the Jesuit community.  Luckily a quick-thinking scholastic saved all our matresses before the storm broke…..