At 6 am we heard the girls whispering, “What’s that noise?” It was the sound of many monkeys on our tin roof. It sounded like thunder. We had already been woken up at 4 a.m by the Mullah calling the Muslims to pray. The town mosque must have had it’s speaker aimed right at Morning Glory. It was loud. The girls didn’t know what it was and we explained that it was the Muslim’s way of getting everyone up to pray to Allah.
The air was crisp and the skies were clear. It was beautiful. We packed as much as we could fit into the tiny cupboard. Tony went to get some supplies at the four shops which we discovered were called Chaar Dukhan, meaning “Four Shops.” Cute. I pottered around while the girls played outside on the small lawn.
Before sunset the Mullah started up again and it really scared Asha and Zoe. Zoe’s reaction was to put her fingers in the shape of a gun and shout out to Asha, “The Muslims are coming! The Muslims are coming!” I realised then that she didn’t know they were people. Her imagination had created an image that matched the voice. It obviously wasn’t human. A few days later, when we were in the bazaar I was able to introduce her to an elderly Muslim man. She liked him and happily put her finger gun away.
We soon discovered that we had a water problem. For days there was no running water. At all. We had bought two 50 litre buckets with us from Goa. Tony drove up the driveway to Chaar Dukhan to the only tap that produced water. He queued up with container-laden ladies and children and waited his turn. The buckets were big and it took a while. He made friends while he waited. He put the buckets in the back of the jeep and made his way home. The drive was so steep, the water spilled out and ran down in front of the jeep. By the time he got home he had lost almost half of the water.
Dish water was used to flush the toilet. Someone would pour a small jug of water over our hands while we soaped them and rinsed them. If that water was caught it also went down the loo. We boiled water on our two plate gas stove and put it into a water filter which had filtering candles in it. That was for cooking and drinking. Any water was used sparingly. Tony did not want to make that trip more times than was absolutely necessary.
One rainy day, Asha and Zoe were playing outside. They had bottles and were trying to catch the rain. Zoe was threatening to drink it and Asha shouted from outside, “Mom, is this boiled water?” They were learning fast.
For some strange reason, within a few weeks of being in Mussoorie, Ash got the water mixed up. She got really sick. She had fevers of 104 degrees and all we could do was cool her down with cold towels. While we were doing that, Tony and I both smelt a putrid smell around the bed. We walked all around the house to see if there was a dead rat somewhere but it was only around the bed. We realised that it was an unclean, smelly demon so we took it on and told it, in the name of Jesus, to leave the room. It moved from the bed but stayed in the middle of the living room. It was as if a person was standing there. Tony got so angry, he opened the door and told it to get out and never come back. The smell went and Asha got better almost immediately. The fear she had been struggling with for months also left.
We lived in Morning Glory for two months and during that time we joined the Landour Language School to learn Hindi. It was within walking distance of our cottage. Tony would do a morning session and I would walk with the girls to meet him half way. He would take them home and I would go to Hindi lessons.
There was always lots to see on the way. A big challenge was negotiating our steps around the donkey’s poos in the road. One day Zoe stepped over a big one and said, “Naughty donkeys not pooing in the toilet.”
We managed to get 6 weeks of study in. That wasn’t nearly enough for people who were going to stay forever. In all of that time, we hadn’t heard a full conversation spoken in Hindi. There were lots of foreigners living in that area. Many of them worked at Woodstock International School and others were there to study Hindi.
We made some lovely friends in those six weeks and of course everyone wanted to know what we were doing there. Some wondered why on earth we would want to plant ANOTHER Christian community in a place where there were so many. We could see that. There were four denominations just on our side of the mountain. Others were excited that we were going to do something new and were keen to join us. It seemed that things were happening quicker than what we had expected. We were ready.
I love reading your posts Linda. Thank you for taking the time to share. We bought your couches when you left and I always used to remember to pray when I would sit on them. It was often. We still have one of them today and I remember to still pray for you guys. You are such an inspiration
Thanks Debbie. You were such good friends to us. Still are. XXXX
Hi Lin! These pics of Ash and Zoes are the cutest ever. Loving reading your stories. xx
Hi, we are the current residents of the firs estate, it is now a children’s home. We are curious to know when the events of this blog happened 🙂 look forward to hearing
Hi Gopal 🙂 This was early 1992. We were there for a few months and then moved to Barlowganj and then to Dhobi Ghat as you will see in my story. We knew Joseph and Laura and others who used to live at The Firs.