The massage yesterday was, well interesting. The stories about little Chinese girls walking on your back, they are absolutely true. The massage lasted 70 minutes and there weren’t many body parts left untouched. There were two of us per room and having the Chinese girls talking to each other, probably about us, during the massage was a little unnerving. The girls were fascinated with our mascara and with the fact that the skin on the underside of my arm is the same color as their skin. Some of the team members opted to have their hair washed and blow dried. The finished product on Billy was hysterical. We have photos. He graciously did not put on a hat until all of us were able to see his coiffed locks.
There is a Chinese supermarket located right next to the hotel. Never have I been inside a two story grocery store. The top floor houses all of the food while house ware type items are downstairs. Sunday the team went in together to purchase snacks for our trip to the mountain. We were assaulted by a Chinese store staff who insisted we turn our backpacks over to him. I guess he was afraid we’d steal. None of us were comfortable with that so one of the team members followed him downstairs to baby sit the bags. The market is packed on Sunday mornings, apparently that is Chinese grocery shopping day. The bakery items are everyone’s favorite. Nate bought potato chips with an angel on the bag called, “Lonely God.” We thought that a strange name for potato chips. One display houses live eels and baby turtles, we bypassed those without stopping. All the cashiers are dressed like little flight attendants, red polyester vests, blue/white stripped scarves around their necks and matching hair clips fastened in their hair.
Random things are marked with English translations, but it is not the kind of English that we speak. One sign at the Sacred Mountain read, “Warm Prompt.” We’ve no idea what they were trying to tell us. There were warning signs that said, “Caution Slip”. So, they want you to slip with caution??? Interestingly enough the police stations are marked in English. I suppose they are warning foreigners to beware. Until yesterday it had not occurred to me, but the keyboard in the internet cafe is in English. How does that work? I for one am glad about that.
Today at the orphanage Nate and Lacey came around to our groups with the guitar and we got to sing with our kiddos. One of our little down’s syndrome girls really enjoyed that, she clapped right along. Nate only knows about six songs but “Jesus Loves Me” and “Old MacDonald” worked really well. One of the older boys from another area joined in our circle and sang along with the babies. While I was putting a nappie (diaper for you Americans) on Zhen Zhen this morning one of the carers came up and started clipping his finger nails, with SCISSORS! Wow. I tried not to watch.
Tonight we are dining with all of the I.C.C. administrative staff and afterwards the original staff who started the work in Hengyang are going to share some of the program’s history and show us before and after pictures. We are all pretty excited about that. Personally, I think maybe I’d like to make this trek annually.
Hooray, after seven days, they finally changed the sheets and our hotel rooms. We were beginning to wonder if that was ever going to happen. The bathrooms get wiped down daily, dirty towels replaced and oddly enough the furniture dusted, but there is no replacing of drinking glasses or vacuuming of floors. We are all grateful though for hot running water while flows from the water heater mounted inside the shower. Last night at dinner we had ribs. They were gone the moment the plate hit the table. Most of our meat comes in the form of chicken, beef or pork included in a vegetable dish. Those dishes are all pretty tasty, but we were glad to be able to actually bite into a piece of meat.
Tomorrow is our last day at the project and though all of us are pretty worn out, we’ll be sad to go. Our prayers today was that we’d finish whatever job the Lord has for us here and then take all that we’ve learned here about ministering to “the least of these” and continue the work at home.
Currently I am sandwiched between two Chinese men who are smoking so I’ll sign out while I still have full lung capacity.