This morning I am sitting in a guesthouse in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, Southern India. In fact if I were much more south I would be in the Indian Ocean and that is a nice thought. I left England 3 weeks ago in a wheelchair and after a short stay in Hong Kong I spent the next 10 days in Wuhan, Central China. There I gave 2 workshops back to back and then flew via Kuala Lumpur to Chennai where Susie and I were reunited for a short flight south. Here in India we are teaching 3 seminars and commissioning a microbes brewing centre. In a week we will be back home!
Spending time in these two powerfully emerging countries, it is hard not to make a few comparisons. Wuhan must be the world’s largest building site, a living example of the speed of change and development in China. Here in India it looks the same as it always did but amid the apparent chaos you spy a new airport terminal or another floor being added to an existing building.
However both countries have strong similarities and the one that is most striking is their hunger for knowledge and education. Every family puts education at the top of their list and strives for it at every possible opportunity; this seems such a contrast to the West where education appears a chore, an arduous task to be criticised and resisted and this attitude continues long after formal education has ended. In the seminars in Asia the focus people consider sharing and transformation as a delight and they welcome the changes, so different from the attitude we seem to have in our “developed” societies to change and healing.
Yesterday as Susie and I walked past a boys hostel attached to the college we saw a sign on the wall with the day’s schedule; the day starts at 5.30am and the first event is a study period for one hour from 5.40! Imagine that!
Love from India
Jeff and Sue