Posted by: thebluemusicblog | March 20, 2014

INDIA 3 – VISAKHAPATNAM, THE YMCA ON THE BEACH

This is how a really welcome looks like in Visakhapatnam, in the South East Region of the Indian YMCA. This is also the home town of the Indian YMCA President, Dr. Rolland Williams. You will see him at the far left of he below photo.

1149521_220097361519151_1338834323_oThe felicitation is followed by the youth group performing both very modern dances and singing, my thoughts went wandering – this looked so much like Ten Sing, but it was genuinely Indian youth programmes – made in India.

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I went on to give a key note speech on the vision of the world wide YMCA. Again I wanted to express how impressed I was by the clear and very outspoken Christian emphasis in the Indian YMCAs, combined with a very effective outreach strategy. No child was disadvantaged because of faith, creed, culture, color or language. No discrimination whatsoever. Again an inspiring demonstration how Christ centered visions can lead to unconditional expressions of love and inclusion of the most needy without asking for any conversion or change. No judgment – just a century long tradition of sharing a better life and improved future hopes with the children of the local communities.IMG_2919Visakhaptanam YMCA is the only YMCA on the beach in India. This view is from my hotel window, but the YMCA was lying just a few hundred yards up the coast, and between the hotel and the YMCA was only the below creature:

IMG_2969A big Indian submarine resting on the beach as a memorial to less peaceful times in the 1970s.

IMG_2982As always the interesting contrasts in India – just very close to the submarine and a good hotel this relaxed cow enjoying leftovers from yesterdays feast.

IMG_2934Ingunn was participating very actively every day, and was always invited to give a speech wherever we came. In Visakhaptanam she was asked to officially inaugurate the Regional Seminar on Health and Healthy Living, and during her presentation both the Royal Norwegian Queen, the Ski-Queen and the Diet-Queen were presented together with some very clear Norwegian health advises. It was very well received by the audience of close to 200 people.

1926079_220094648186089_613393276_oAnd I was as always giving my speeches, here on Change Agents and I had a very interesting dialogue with all the Change Agents in the South East Region, around 260 of them, even if not all could be present on that day.

IMG_2932This was one of many similar programmes we visited during our travel through India. A big group of young boys being given all what they needed for a good life, including clothes, education and food, and it was a great pleasure to talk with them. I am holding in my hands a good chunk of medals that the boy at my side ran to pick up from his room and show to me, medals from sports competitions over several years. These boys are given Space, Transformation and Impact, and YMCA for them means Youth Empowerment and a good life. They will be the Change Agents of tomorrow.

IMG_2928I told them about cold weather and snow, and ski jumping and ice hockey – all stuff absolutely unknown to them, but at least a little bit exotic?

IMG_2940The youth group of the YMCA took us for sight seeing to the top of the mountain, where we could see the gods of the mountain:

IMG_2936We took the slow train showing us the park and the gardens and the beautiful views of the city down below.
IMG_2938After an interesting visit to the mountain top, the cable car took us down and gave us a thrill of heights and great views.

IMG_2950Can you interpret what is happening on the photo below?

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If you guessed the right answer, the prize is a visit to the mountain chapel below, at least a virtual visit. It was interesting to see a very ecumenical Christian centre in the middle of a city where other religions were outnumbering the Christian minorities big time.
IMG_2961Below the felicitation is ongoing, and Rolland Williams, to the right of me, the President of the Indian YMCA was accompanying us for most of our travel, together with John Varughese, NGS, and Jose Varghese from the National Council/my own staff.

1888841_220094628186091_1509829782_oAnd below the full audience following both the Health seminar and the Change Agent dialogue during our one, memorable day in Visakhapatnam YMCA.
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