January 28, 2007

footsteps of great-grandpa & great-grandma

From Chennai we headed north to Vishakapatnam. It is an over 1,5 million city in the state of Andhra Pradesh. In 1893 my great-grandfather Johannes Leuckfeld arrived here by boat from Germany, from where he was sent as a missionary to the interior of Orissa, one of the poorest regions in India at this time...

Now, more than 100 years later we made the trip by train over the mountains of the eastern ghats. It took us around 10 hours through that beautiful landscape. The missionaries went by bullcars, because there weren't any trains nor solid roads at all.

Along the railway-track you see lots of rice-fields and always this amazing red soil. Long time ago this region was covered by rainforest and travelling through it was certainly not an easy thing. But farmers burnt the woods down through the years so humidity remains only in some rivers during the dry-season.

Arriving in Koraput (Orissa), we realized that there are still churches in this region. They appear quite different like European churches. Most of all because of the light blue colour. Later we were told, that Indian christians paint there houses and churches every christmas during a huge ceremony, which last a few days.

We were welcomed very warm by the congregation. They sang their hymn which I recognized as the famous German church-song "Lobe den Herren". By coincidence we arrived on the birthday of a former bishop of Jeypur (biggest city in that region), so we were asked to participate in a ceremony on his grave together with his daughter and her family-members.

We often were shown around and visited some of the social institutions like this widow-ashram. The lady on my side is around 90 years old and asked me to say a prayer for the inhabitants of this ashram. I did not expected anything like this, but who could say “No” in such a situation...

Kids were all around all the time, especially when Veit was recording with his videocamera.

axel at January 28, 2007 11:57 AM

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