Posted by Sydney
We arrived in Mumbai (Bombay) in the middle of the night – and it was 90 degrees. The humidity is so thick you feel like you could eat the air! It is raining a lot (due to Monsoon season beginning), but we are grateful because the locals said the smog was so thick before the rain that you couldn’t see outside. We are staying in a place on the famous Marine Drive (nicknamed the “Queen’s Necklace” because it is a promenade right on the Indian Ocean dotted with lights and is semicircular – thus it looks like a necklace at night). It is beautiful when the sun sets and people just sit along the wall looking at the ocean visiting with one another and watching the sunset. There are people there all the time. It one of the only places we’ve seen that is just for being outside.
Mumbai is an interesting city with all different kinds of architecture. There is traditional Indian, Victorian, and Colonial due to it being a British colony for so long. Unfortunately, there are a lot of slums here too. Poor unlike anything I have ever seen. About 1/3 of the population lives like this – which with Mumbai being the largest city in India, makes it millions that live that way. I cried as I drove into the city from the airport.
We took our first outing to the Gateway to India and to find bottled water. The Gateway to India was beautiful – but truthfully, we couldn’t stay too long because everyone was trying to take pictures with us. They literally were begging us to take pictures with them or standing around us trying to get us in their selfies. Some even walked around just taking pictures of us as we walked around. I didn’t realize how few Americans they must see here.
We had a driver take us around while John was in meetings. He opened my eyes to so many things. He said there are more than 2,000 slums in Mumbai – and he lives in one. They are 275 square feet. He said they aren’t bad and that they have everything you need. Makes me think of all I have that I don’t actually need. They have TVs & electricity – it really is just a way of life. They are made of old metal and tarps. The 2nd story ones you enter by a ladder. It doesn't look like you could stand up in one. There are also people who live under the overhang of the road by the water where they sell things on the side of the road – they are given an apartment by the government, which they rent out so they can still sell their goods and live under the road so they can have double the income. So interesting.
We went to church here. In December they moved into a building on the 3rd floor. It was perfect and I am so happy that they can meet there. There were a few Americans, but the rest were Indians who have all different backgrounds. There were about 50 people there (there are many more, just not today). This is Mumbai’s only Branch. There were also 4 proselyting missionaries - all from India. They were so impressive! The people were all so kind and friendly and we learned so much from the talks and lessons. It was amazing how as soon as we went to the 3rd floor and saw the sign on the door, it felt like we belonged. The church is amazing that way!
I’ve loved India and have learned so much here. It has been so insightful with many tender moments. We have loved meeting new people and seeing new things. I’ve learned that I don’t need all I think I do and have been reminded that there really is good everywhere you go.