Fr. Tom Cassidy writes from India:
We are expecting the novices and postulants from Nambur this morning, but before the first batch arrived by train both our cow and pigs on the grounds were out rummaging for food. Our sow had nine piglets and she’s now down to 7 as two of them have been given to nearby communities. We don’t have enough land to support this many pigs so more will be given away. The sow is fed our leftovers (and usually there isn’t very much of that) and the Brothers of the Holy Family send theirs as well. In turn they get pork (or maybe a live pig) from our small herd — if that’s what you call a group of pigs a herd.
The first group of novices and postulants arrived about a half hour ago.They were supposed to arrive at the Eluru train station at 8:00 am, but were a bit late. I’m not sure from what station they left for our place as Nambur is a very small community so I’m guessing it was either Guntur or Vijayawada. The rest of the novices and postulants will be coming by car. There are 10 novices and six postulants. As the novitiate has only one minivan there is not enough room to bring them all by car. That is a problem for all our houses as vehicles are limited to usually one car and a couple of bikes. We’re fortunate in Eluru to have the 14-year-old jeep in addition to the house minivan.
Besides the pigs and cow we also have a flock of free range chickens. I’m not sure how many there are but enough that from time to time we enjoy home-grown chicken as opposed to chickens purchased on the open market. I usually know when it’s the house variety by the racket that takes place just before John, our cook, dispatches the bird of the day. Usually as well I’ll see some feathers not too far from the kitchen door where the unlucky bird met its fate.
Our one and only cow thinks it’s part human as it has no contact with others of its kind. If you let it on the soccer field it will butt the ball, but as far as I know it has never scored a goal.
At one time they tried raising fish here but it gets too hot in summer to keep the fish alive. That does not stop the community from eating lots of fish. Our freezer is now full thanks to this week’s trip to the coast. It should last us about two months. I haven’t’ met an Indian yet who does not like fish and probably prefers fish over meat. One advantage of eating with your hands is that it’s much easier to pick out the bones ahead of time. I’ve pretty much avoided fish because of the bone issue. Today we are supposed to have some grilled tuna in honor of our guests and I’ll give it a try.