Monday, April 18, 2005

Cabin Fever

Cabin fever is often a phenomenon that conjures visions of someone being trapped in the house for days because of a blizzard. With twelve feet of snow on the ground it’s not easy to get out of the house. No wonder spring is everyone’s favorite season as one can get out of the house, smell the flowers, and breathe fresh air again.

Right now I am in the beginning phase of cabin fever in India. Hardly due to cold or snow, it’s 104 degrees outside and by mid-May it will be an even more oppressive 115 degrees. All houses in this city of 12 million are made of cement blocks and living on the second floor we are blessed with all the heat that bears down. Our apartment retains the heat in its walls throughout the night, so if it cools down to 95 outside it will remain over 100 in our flat. With our one air conditioner churning all day, we pray the power doesn’t go off.

In such heat one does not easily get out of the house. Since we don’t own a car, if we go anywhere it’s by foot or auto rickshaw. One can actually get heat burn from riding in an open auto rickshaw when it’s 115 degrees. The dilemma is to suffer outside or continue to feel the walls moving in?

Ministry? Forget about it. From the middle of April to the first of June no one moves, unless it’s out of the city to a cooler place for summer vacation. This is the time to write, read and try to survive.

My greatest challenge during this time in India is recognizing that writing, re-working lessons I will teach in the fall, is as important as standing before a classroom. If a cross-cultural worker doesn’t have a sense of responsibility, to God and those who partner with him in the work, it would be easy to just drift. Having a good work ethic is to remember that if you don’t show up for work on Monday, you won’t get paid on Friday. Having cabin fever is no excuse for not showing up for work, it just makes it a little more challenging.