Sunday, June 07, 2009

Chennai, June 3

This week has been pretty crazy.

Elder Tuscano and I learned an interesting lesson that Baba has probably learned with his students. That, unless the people we teach take time to do the activities we ask them to, they will never learn, understand or internalize anything we say. Eg, we're wasting our time.

Sunday was the most crazy day - we were so busy visiting people that we didn't eat anything between breakfast and 8pm, at our last appointment of the day (who fed us). And we were traveling around with or in our suits the whole day after church. It was definitely worth it though.

This week we've been visiting a lot of people with big problems. There's one guy with substance and alcohol addictions who we were visiting, who we thought had interest to change, but doesn't really, so that was pretty sad. (We were inside talking to his wife and he was outside playing caroms.) Other people with substance problems. One church member who was basically doing for his father what the nurses did for Ajee - his father just died though, so we'll probably go over there later today. A couple of fathers who have returned from abroad to their wives and children who can't find a job and don't know what to do. Trying to help them help themselves, when the problems are way over our heads, is a real learning experience.

Probably the best line I heard was from one of the other elders about someone they are visiting. This guy is very large but quiet, really smart and fairly nerdy, we played Hangman on the train to Bangalore: "We need to give him a very firm commitment to take his medication all of the time we come instead of just some of the time. 'I promise you that as you seek psychiatric care...' "

Also a really interesting experience has been, every week, setting goals. Now I'm not much of a goal-setter, but I've really started to come around. Recently Elder Tuscano and I have started setting performance goals for the week that make us stretch - and then basically achieving them! It's something that hasn't really happened up to now (or when it has, I haven't really felt a part of it that much). But it's really cool and exciting.


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