Hi! I’m Ahmed (ah-mehd). Welcome to Patna (paht-nuh), the third oldest city in India. This large city began as a fort overlooking the Ganges (gan-jeez) River. As it grew, Patna became a famous center of Indian culture and learning. Two world religions began here – Buddhism and Jainism. Today tourists come from all around the world to visit our ancient universities, temples, and monuments.
My family lives in a small home – eight rooms for 30 people including aunts, uncles, and cousins. The women and older girls clean the house, wash our clothes by hand, and prepare food for the family. Mom is teaching my older sisters to make one of my favorite meals – a thick, spicy lentil stew called dal (dahl) served with a platter of chapatis (chuh-pah-teez). We use this flat bread to scoop up the stew. And for dessert, a special treat – unsweetened yogurt.
In school my favorite subject is math. I want to be an engineer when I grow up, but Father says the men in our family have worked as weavers for hundreds of years. When I get older, he will teach me how to use his loom to create colorful cloth. After school, my friends and I play cricket, a game similar to baseball. Sometimes we pretend to be soldiers stationed at Patna’s first fort, fighting off attacks and planning raids on enemy territory. We also love flying homemade kites from the rooftop.
Many people in India follow the Hindu religion, but my family is Muslim. On Friday, the holiest day of the week, I walk with my father to pray at the mosque (mahsk). We remove our shoes and squat down before a row of water pipes. After washing our hands, we rinse our face and hair. Next comes the back of our necks, then our arms, and finally, our feet. Muslims believe that being clean when we pray is a sign of respect for God. Without this, God will not hear our prayers.
Make your own loom for weaving. Cut out the front or back of an empty cereal box and lay it flat. Use a ruler and pencil to mark off 7-10 evenly spaced dots along the short sides of the cardboard. Using scissors, cut where the dots are to make notches along the edges. Starting at the top left notch, stretch yarn/string straight across, through the notch on the opposite edge, and around the back. Continue to wrap rows of yarn/string around the cardboard, using the notches to hold each row. The cardboard may cup slightly. When you reach the bottom, tie the two ends of the yarn/string together on the back. You are ready to begin weaving!
- The Ansari people believe that God is holy and go to great lengths to be clean before they approach Him. Pray that Ansari families will come to know Jesus, the only one who can remove sin and give them hearts that are acceptable to God.
- Few global workers in northern India are reaching out to Muslims. Pray that God will raise up global workers who will take the gospel into Ansari communities.