We let you read Françoise's testimony
“Last week in India for me
On January 27th, I am happy to go with Sophie, Surya, Isabelle and Yolande, travelling east, heading for Tranquebar.
We travel by the night train, leaving Ernakulam at 22.10 pm and arriving the following morning in Karaikal at 11,50 am.
Travelling by night with the indian population is an adventure in itself.
We arrive happy and in good shape as we could get some sleep in the 3rd class A/C berth.
Two taxis were waiting for us so as to reach Tranquebar and meet Jude at the center where he had spent a first week in silence, in the quiet atmosphere of the place.
For me it is a week of discoveries and strong emotions shared with my friends.
First I am puzzled by the place, a fishing village: we receive permanent smiles and gentleness from the inhabitants, as well as from Indian families who have come for a holiday at the seaside.
The days start with a morning meditation, all present around Jude: I appreciate the nice singing, and each other's voices, intense personal moments. Songs from the bottom of our hearts. I am deeply touched.
The center, a Tamil house, is wonderful but will have to be renovated, it is enlightened by Jude's presence who receive all of us with a moving ability to listen. A place to live in shared with Sophie, Surya, Isabelle and Yolande, we all live very near.
We share our meals in a little hotel next to the port and the sea. The staff is very discrete and thoughtful. Jude stays in the center, the villagers and ourselves bring him some food. The meal start with a benediction which is always a nice relaxing time.
Days go by, peacefully between moments of rest in the house, nice long walks long the sea side or towards the village. We are all in the same spirit.
Surya, being born in the country, feels at home with the local language and so can translate easily when needed. The villagers often ask for him when he is not present. Sometimes he stays to paint his wonderful birds.
I will always remember the intensity of the exchange with this woman selling shells, this other one selling peanuts, the shooting scene with a group of blind people.... so many encounters, so many smiles …
Also, the wonderful sunsets, these incredible lights in the sky, and the birds singing.
Among surprises in the week, the unexpected rain for the season, but which helped freshening the atmosphere.
Another surprise, meeting a young Italian man, Valerio, who shared for a whole day deep moments with us.
I am particularly touched by the deprived local population; I think about the tsunami devasting this coast and I am amazed to be here, all this seems unreal for me.
Another touching moment: a father and his son with diabetes who had come to meet Jude. I think about the children with diabetes I cure in Dieppe, with the same problems caused by this chronical disease. I can't help but encourage this young boy to be looked after even though the conditions are so different here … What else can I do to help? At least testify my comprehension and support.
And as well, this memorable day with the children from the school, often mentioned by Sophie in the newsletters. At last we meet them, we are with them and their school mistress in the morning. Happiness for those children who certainly have a very difficult daily life. We attend their meal which is probably the only one for the day.
They eat eagerly, nothing left in their plate.
In the afternoon, they are very happy to do the activity prepared by Sophie. Yolande is thrilled, it reminds her of her school job with little ones. Surya, Isabelle and myself help them using scissors, glue and brushes.
Laughs and happiness for them all!
In the end, each child has made a wonderful envelop by sticking little bits of material, of all different colours. We take them to the letter box so that they can post their precious mail. They will receive it a few days later.
We end this wonderful afternoon by meeting Jude for a meditation time and singing, holding hands: intense communion among ourselves, adults, and these children from this remote place.
When the day is over, Yolande and myself spend some time under the stars, on the terrace of our little hotel, sharing our day, our lives.
Time to go back to Cochin, Jude is with us this time. Some surprises are waiting us on the way to the station, and we spend a comfortable night in our berths, all of us in the same compartment, a great joy to finish together this beautiful trip.
Writing those lines a few days after my coming back to France, I am filled with the emotions of all those rich moments, deep in the bottom of my heart”
Françoise, February 5th 2017