Pretty quickly it seems.
The elder Eichers get up fairly early (not saying when because it doesn't happen each day).
But after a cup of tea and time with God with His word and prayer... its time to get Enoch ready! From 6.50 to 7.30 is a rapid-fire set of activities - toilet, brushing teeth (sometimes a quick bath too).
Then on to the multi-tasking bit: breakfast, dressing up, shining shoes, not forgetting the ID card, reading a bible story - all more or less at the same time. The result - a spick and span lad who Daddy takes down to meet his bus at about 7.30 AM.
Junior KG for Enoch. His class is called 'Hummingbird' and he lives up to the name. By local standards, Enoch's pre-school is pretty laid-back and progressive. No tests. No school bag. A play area in the school hall. School from 8 - 11 AM. An instruction "do not send your child for coaching classes" (ignored by many parents).
With Enoch on the bus - Andi heads over to the JSK centre while Sheba wakes up Asha and feeds her and then supervises her homework.
In the meantime - Mary - the elderly lady who has started helping us in the home arrives. A meal is cooked and the house is cleaned up.
Sheba joins work at 11 AM and generally sees patients at the centre. Each person who comes has so many different needs:
- A young man who has just found out that he is HIV positive - when his expecting wife had her routine HIV test as part of her ante-natal care
- A middle-aged widow who has come for advice on how to deal with her rebellious adolescent son. Her major concern not so much her own HIV, but what is happening to her boy.
- A young widow who has come to have her young son checked up as he has been falling sick regularly.
Each person someone who Jesus loves very much. Someone whom Jesus has asked us as His followers to touch and love in His name.
In the mean time Andi has headed over to supervise Mary. She has gone down to pick up Enoch from the school bus and now Asha is eating an early lunch. At 12.30 Asha is down at the school bus wearing her white and blue uniform and carrying an very heavy school bag.
Everything about it. The reading and writing. The songs and poems. The physical excercises and the occasional special event.
A proud student of standard 1, Asha is in her element.
Her teacher feels the same and seems to have asked her to become a 'monitor' for the class.
Her classes are from 1 PM to 6 PM, getting her back as a tired by happy girl just before 6.30.
Each evening we are regaled with a steady chatter of stories of what went on 'at school.' What the teacher asked her to do. Who said what. How this boy needed to be helped. We have no lack of entertainment or information - our lack of a TV is more than compensated for by Asha Channel and Enoch Channel.
Before Asha left, Andi had a quick lunch and then put Enoch to bed for his afternoon nap. Armed with Sheba's lunch in a tiffin it is off back to JSK.
1-2 PM is more office work (the computer seems to be Andi's best friend at the moment). Then from 2-3 we meet with the JSK team to discuss the previous day's home-visits.
The accounts are often depressing. We are dealing with over 150 contacts in Thane who are sick with HIV - and most of the time our staff concentrate on those who are most sick and have the most messed-up lives. It is hard not to feel at times that we are swimming helplessly against an overwhelming incoming tide.
But then there are stories like Mr. Babulnath. A man who has been very depressed and sad, Mr. B was visited recently by 2 of our male staff. As they went to his house they passed a man selling roses. Remembering what our brother Stefan had said during a recent workshop with staff on seeing beauty in their work (see pic below) the staff decided to buy Mr. Babulnath a rose.
But not just a cut rose. An actual small flowering rose plant. Rs. 15 instead of Rs. 5. The effect was amazing. When they went into the house it was dark with depression. As they gave the rose plant to Mr. Babulnath, it was as if a light had been turned on. There was such a beautiful sense of hope that came into that small room.
There is hope - despite the often seemingly all-pervading gloom.
After a prayer, our team leaves for the afternoon home-visits to people with HIV. Sheba then heads back home (our 2 min walk between the flat and the centre is such a God-send). Andi continues to do odds and ends till 6 before calling it a day. One of the current tasks Andi does at JSK is helping support the YAA clubs (adolescent groups run by churches to help young people make wise choices in their lives) and prepare for the YAA Festival on the 1st of Dec.
The day doesn't end there though for the Eichers. Enoch gets up around 5 PM and has 'special time with Mummy' - sometimes with a small walk in the park of the housing complex ("Happy Valley" is the name!). Asha gets off the school bus at 6.30, met by Sheba and Enoch and then we decide what we will do for the evening.
Our house church has started meeting in 3 different homes on Sundays - but we still meet up fairly often during the week. Wed nights are a time for some of the men to pray together (9.30-10.30 PM!). Friday nights are reserved for an on-going Bible study which rotates between different homes (8.30-10.30 PM) and we host the youth group from all the three fellowships on Saturday evenings at our home.
If we decide not to go out and meet someone, but to 'stay at home', then it is usually Lego time for Andi and Enoch, which Asha tells all that went on.
Supper is flexible - anytime from 7 to 10 PM. Then getting kids ready for bed. A short family devotion and prayer and Asha and Enoch are in bed. Their tired parents are usually in bed too.
Till the early the next morning that is...