In India, as soon as you disclose that you are an Australian, it is a foregone conclusion that you know Ricky Ponting personally - also that you are a good cricketer. I have however well and truly put that assumption to rest during a very serious game of cricket late yesterday afternoon. Initially both captains wanted me on their side, due to my size and supposed ability at hitting 6'ers. Well, my side was first to bowl and i was sent out to catch the 'big' hits that were certain to come. Well it came...and it came my way. It came so fast - and the ball they use is a little black leather one - that I could hardly see it, and rather than take the risk of it hitting in me in the face and breaking my nose (which would probably upset Lou), I tried to catch it with my hat and missed by about 2 metres....well that did not go down too well! They immediately sent me to the outfield where nothing happens.The time to redeem myself came when it was my turn to bat...well that didnt happen as I was out for a duck on the second ball (although they do bowl mighty quick or more of a peg!)! After that, no one wanted me on their team..even Sam (who had a good game) asked me to move away from him as it was embarrassing to be associated with me! One of the female spectators however tried to make me feel better by saying that it wasn't the ball that knocked the stumps over, but the wind! - they use a concrete block for stumps so I know she was just being nice.
My self esteem was however well and truly built when I took Sam to the local 'Splash' water theme park with the NZ family during our Friday day off. Scott and I became instant 'bollywood' stars when we took to the speed slide....our technique (and my weight) caused us to get considerable speed and air when coming down the slide - much to the delight of all the spectators - and we managed to 'skim' all the way to the other side of the pool once we reached the bottom of the slide. People came up and shook our hands, and the lifesavers ensured that the pool was clear when they saw us at the top of the slide ready to launch...it was a great break and we met a number of local people living around Narela where the Ashram is located and shared with them the work that we are doing.
Sam has been spending time in the clinic over the last few days, which has been great. He has shown a real interest in the work that the medical team does with the patients - from cleaning wounds, to hooking up IV's, looking at Xray's and listening in on diagnosis etc. He also spends time with the patients in the evening just talking with them. It has been a real eye opener for him and he has handled it really well.
Well it's Sunday afternoon and we are now getting ready for Sunday special dinner and service, so will post again during the coming week...