It is hard to believe that more than a decade has past since I last set foot in Mori. My first trip to Mori was in 2006 when I received a scholarship to spend a month working with a visiting medical team at Subbamma Hospital. I quickly fell in love with the people I met, both at hospital and also at Riverside School. I was in medical school at the time and the interactions I had living and serving alongside the medical teams and hospital staff were a powerful and tangible reminder of why I chose to become a doctor. It was these relationships that prompted me to return to Mori in 2007 for a longer 6-month stay.
When I returned to Mori in October I was struck by how some aspects of life seemed so similar to when I had been there before and some had dramatically changed. I was pleased to be greeted by dear friends who have faithfully worked at the school and hospital during my long absence. One of my favorite memories from my time in 2007 was waking up early every morning, sitting on steps outside my room and drinking a cup of chai tea with Martha, the facilities manager. It was a chance to connect and enjoy the stillness before we continued on with our days. Upon my return, I was delighted to find that Martha, the chai, and the conversation were exactly as I remembered them.
I saw God at work in Mori, the shining eyes and smiling faces of the all the children in their school uniforms as they file on and off busses and dart in and out of classroom also brought back a flood of memories. I was encouraged to see that Riverside School is flourishing as it has expanded from a school of a couple hundred students in 2006 to more than 700 students today. Nothing seems to mark the passage of time quite so poignantly as watching children grow up. It is hard for me to believe that children I had played with as toddlers are now in high school, or children who were in high school are now teachers.
The towns of Mori and Malkipuram have also changed a lot since I’ve been gone. New business have sprung up, more cars crowd the street, and concrete houses have replaced many of the thatched roof huts. Back on campus, more buildings have been built, stories have been added, and fruit trees have been cultivated. Despite all these changes the palpable spirit of Project India can be felt just as strongly as when I was there a decade ago. God is really at work in Mori. I just hope it doesn’t take me another decade to find my way back to Mori again.