Nov 1, 2011

Malana Diaries Part Finale : "Why God, Why Malana?"

So, there I was, in the middle of the 45 degree dirt trail to Malana, tired, stomach upset from indigestion from the travelling, out of breath, panting, throat dry and parched and the night falling on us. Just when I thought the worst was almost over, I looked to the trail just disappearing into a steep rugged climb where you have to grab on bushes to pull yourself up. In my mind I was asking "Lord, of all the places... why Malana?".

I wasn't the only one. A few meters ahead the trail, the Color Kuki was catching her breath, on a dizzy spell  and panting "Lalpa, i rawngbawl tur hian ka tling lo a ni".

There I was, curled up in my sleeping bag against the cold Himalaya winds. I knew it would be just a matter of an hour before my upset stomach would compel me to take "a visit behind the bushes" with my roll of toilet paper and a hand-sanitizer while the others were singing around the camp fire. I longed for the security of my hostel room and a proper toilet with running water. In my mind  I was asking, "Lord, why did You even allow me to take this trip?"

Malana, an isolated community who shun the outer world; A holy community who regards all outsiders to be  filthy; a community with the oldest republic in the world; a community in spite of their shortcomings have  unshaken faith in their deity and  have absolutely no need and regard for the outer world.

And here we are, a handful of Christian Youth in the floating Delhi Mizo population, who are here today and gone tomorrow!

Who are we to think that we can make a change to an old, strong and stubborn culture? Who are we to persist after ten years of failing to make a change? Who are we to think that we can make a change when the proud culture itself doesn't want change? Who are we to poke our noses and push our faith and our beliefs to people who don't want it?

The answer, I realized, after visiting the village, is: We are absolutely nothing!

There have been talks going around even among our own members on why we should stop supporting a missionary for Malana and support something else where we can see results. Since we haven't even made a dent in ten years time, should we stop and turn our attention, our prayers and our money to something or someone else??

I was wide awake while Zama was snoring beside me on the overnight bus back to Delhi. The face of the  topaz eyed Malani girl kept haunting me. She must have been around 6 years old. The same age group as my eldest niece. Her pretty face dirty and her chubby cheeks dry and chapped. Her light brown hair dirty, unwashed and discolored yellow from malnutrition. Her tiny body clad in the shabby salwar doubled as a school uniform and her feet in dirty pink gumboots. The way she'd stand on the side when we pass her in the road, the way her face fell each time Zeta tried to take a picture of her and the way she'd turn her face each time she caught us looking at her.

 I imagined her face at 30. She would be married, have a kid or two with a miscarriage or a few still-borns in between. Her flushed complexion would have been wrinkled, saggy and hidden under the layers and layers of dirt covering her skin. Her beautiful topaz eyes would have the same dazed look that all the people in the village had from daily consumption of weed. Her daily chore would have included cultivation of weed and preparing and drying them for sale. By the time she reached 45, she would have looked 60. That little light-eyed girl violently woke up the Protector in me! I wanted to protect, hug and shield that child from the inevitably dark future that awaits her. Of course, she'd do alright by her own because she's never known the outer world, but still that thought doesn't stop me from wishing to give her options other than the inevitable.

I remembered those kids on the terrace playing and pretending to roll weed, shouting at us and bringing a little one into view so we could take their pictures. I remembered those three little children in their town square who were more than ready to pose with everyone for pictures and who didn't even flinch when some of the girls held them. I know that it's out of my reach but it still doesn't stop me from wishing that somehow they'd have more options in life.

LH-a and I with the adorable picture-ready-threesome.
The only Malani kid who approached us. He didn't even mind when  I sat next to him  almost touching him!
My thoughts drift back to my insufficiency and my negligiblity as someone who wanted to make a change in a community which doesn't want change. I looked at us, the Youth Fellowship, ordinary youth members with our bouts of slips, wrong turns and mistakes but with this magnificent responsibility. Then I looked at the looming, roaring Giant, the stubborn Pharaoh and the Stormy Sea called Malana. Then I remembered the little shepherd boy called David, the stutterer called Moses and the coward called Peter. 

I know that there must be a reason why God allows us, of all the Christian groups in the world, to make contact with this isolated place.  More established Christian organisations like YWAM, I've heard, have tried for several years to penetrate this culture without success. And yet, we, the Delhi Mizo Youth Fellowship, a handful of youth who mostly comprise of students and a few working youth, who one day would leave Delhi, are given the once in a lifetime chance to make contact with Malana.

We cannot let this chance go by. A one day Medical Camp will never be enough. A week long camp will not be enough either. But one thing I know is that, we cannot turn back now. We must have faith that He who started this, will finish this as well. After seeing the village and meeting the people and experiencing their life just even for a day, I, now understand why U Eli can't stop talking about Malana, why our ex- youth leader Johnny often said "Hlawkpui kan inti" even without making an ounce of change after ten years and why Debby would burst into tears each time there were discussions on why we should turn our focus on something other than Malana.

We may not see the result in a few years. We may not see the result in another ten years. Or even a lifetime. Our next generation may not even see the results that we want to see. Or even the next.

But there's one thing clear in my heart after I came back from Malana. That one thing is that of all the people in this world, we've been assigned this responsibility by God himself. And it doesn't matter if we never see the results we want to see, we just cannot go back now.

A friend of mine joked yesterday, "What if my grandson asked me 'A Pi, where is this place called Malana that you often talk about"?"

I smiled to myself. I only pray that flicker of light will burn that long in all our hearts!


H.Vangchhia said...

May God bless and keep you always.


Pu Chenkuala ava ngaih awm ve. Nice write up. Be a blessings !

Senmami said...


Thank you and God bless you too! :)


Thank you! :) Chenkual nge nge... Malana tlang lawn pawh a lo hnehsawh khawp mai!