Hello all! Life in Agartala is great. Recently, we celebrated Aja's 22nd birthday at a restaurant in the town, which reminded all of us of the Rainforest Cafe. The food was great as it was nice to have some new dishes. We couldn't completely leave our traditional meals behind so Mukta came with us!
About a week ago we accompanied Father Joe Paul to the small village of Radhanagar for a Sunday morning mass. After picking up Father Jilson at the Blessed Andre School, we
proceeded through the jungles and rice paddies. Father Joe Paul drove admirably, but even he couldn't defeat the slippery and dangerously soft mud that awaited us. After getting stuck once (we managed to free the car with the help of some local men),
we came across another, slightly larger, stretch of mud that the Fathers wisely decided to avoid. We went the remaining distance (only a few kilometers) on foot, which was beautiful thanks to the bright blue sky and unreal greens of the paddies. I had got some pretty nice shots of some workers tending the fields. Take a look!
We reached the village after a very steep and thankfully short hill. Father Joe Paul led us along a narrow path surrounded on either side by a steep drop into dense jungle below. We then came to a small building made of thatched bamboo, wooden posts, and sheets of metal for the roof. This was their church. It was one of the more spiritual moments of my life as we
approached it because even though their priest was over an hour late, not one person had left. The church was full; men, women, and children sitting in neat rows on the tarp covered dirt floor. We sat in the very back of the room and waited for mass to begin. The entire mass was in Coakboroak, the tribal language of the region, except for a few words such as "tax collector," which didn't quite translate, and "Americans," which was followed by a nod in our direction and the turning of every head. As the mass was difficult to follow, I used the time to reflect on our experience of the day and as a whole and to wave to all of the cute kids! I snapped a few pictures of them as well.
After mass had concluded, we were called up to the front of the church where we were greeted warmly with smiles and bouquets. We then proceeded into the village where we were taken into a traditional mud home and served lunch.
After our amazing day in Radhanagar, I hope to spend more visiting villages in the area and experiencing everything they have to offer.