REALLY GOOD NEWS: Winston Crown Publishing House is excitedly working on a total compilation of all of Dr. James W. Jackson’s actual field journals and transition journals 83 – 2008, under the titles of “ROADS I’VE TRAVELED DELIVERING HEALTH AND HOPE.” This epic undertaking will include twelve separate books containing all the stories, international incidents, colorful individuals, step-by-step growth and progress of Project C.U.R.E., and venues of over 150 countries. . . plus his personal photos. We will keep you updated and informed.
(States of Mizoram, Manipur, and Nagaland, India: November, 2000): The Needs Assessment Study at the Oking Hospital in Kohima, Nagaland, had to be one of the high points of Project C.U.R.E.’s history. Our hosts told me that Project C.U.R.E. is the first organization from the outside to ever come and help them. As soon as we finished our study at the hospital, Puii and Dr. Thongu asked if we would like a tour of their mountaintop city.
It was about 12:30 p.m. when we arrived at the marketplace. I think if I could just stroll through the Kohima market about noon each day of my life, I would be able to save lots of money otherwise spent for lunches. As we entered the market, Puii reminded me that the Naga people have been highly regarded historically as hunters. That fact was underscored immediately as I spotted dead monkeys offered there for butchering and cooking. Just a few yards away were squirrels hanging by their hind legs, and below them were ordinary small birds for the picking.
On the market table to my left were quarters of small deer cut up but with the hair and hides still on. Then I saw what I didn’t necessarily want to see: short-haired, tan dogs split open from their nostrils to their tails and cleaned and ready for sale. As we moved on through the open market, other exotic scenes jumped out at us. Two older women were kneeling behind their sales table working on a meat product. While I was trying to determine what they were so diligently working on, I almost missed the huge, hairy object lying quite limply on top of the table. It was the entire forearm of a very large black bear. I had Drew hold the heavy arm up so I could take a picture of the prize. One old woman had just managed to sever it from the rest of the huge body, and they were now on the ground skinning out the bear’s body with careful precision so as to perfectly preserve the hide, which would be sold separately.
Having spent a considerable bit of time in Asia, I realized what a prize possession the woman had brought to market. Bear meat is valuable, and except for being a bit greasy, it tastes like pork. But the value of the bear is really in the bones and organs and such things as its paws, claws, and skull. The Asians hold in high respect the medicinal value of spare bear parts as much as they desire deer horns.
Toward the end of the first set of market tables were stacked the displays of nutritious and protein-laden worms. Several different kinds of larvae and worms were available. There were some quite small in size; these worms were taken from the tender part of the bamboo stalks. Then there was another selection of red, caterpillar-type worms about three inches long. Those were very lively. Next to the red worms were several varieties of plump, ivory-colored worms. But the prize objects were the huge insect nests harboring the black-bee larvae. The bees were black only after they had hatched and formed tough shells. The larvae were white, with little yellow mouths. The combs or nests were two to three feet in diameter and were brought to market intact so as not to disturb the wiggling larvae. People buy the nests and take them home quite quickly, because the longer the nests stay at the market, the more the larvae hatch, and then the product has a way of crawling away. Once in the purchaser’s kitchen, the larvae are coaxed out of the nests with prods and tweezers to be prepared for the meal.
As I viewed the huge black-bee nests, my heart and sympathy went out to the poor hunter who had to sneak into the insects’ habitation to steal and carry away the large hives. There had to be some unhappy hornets or war-waging wasps somewhere looking for their offspring.
We walked on past a display of wild boars and snails, big and small. But at the table where they were peddling huge spiders, we stopped and gawked. The vendors fold newspapers into envelopes, then corral about thirty to fifty very large, long-legged spiders, and herd them into the envelope. The spiders were black with yellowish stripes along their bodies. Puii told us how very good and nutritious they are and bought a package of them to take home.
Drew was overjoyed at the thought of eating large spiders for dinner. But as Providence would have it, we were invited to the home of Dr. Thongu’s brother for dinner. He is a high government official in Nagaland, and we thoroughly enjoyed the dinner and hospitality, as well as the opportunity to get acquainted with the official.
Tuesday, November 7–Wednesday, November 8
I woke up Tuesday morning with a smile on my face. Drew and I will be starting our long journey home. Puii wanted to take me out into her lovely greenhouse and show me one more miracle before we left India. “During the dry part of the year, our town of Kohima has problems with fresh-water supplies. But we must have fresh water for our hospital. So, I began to pray for a source of fresh water that would not dry up during the hot, dry months. God showed me a place in my garden where I should dig for a well of fresh water. I dug a hole about twelve feet deep with a shovel, and I suddenly hit a water supply here on the side of our hill.”
Puii showed me the well and the pump and pipes. “The level of water in my well never goes down, even when it gets hot and dry here in Kohima. We pump the water from this well up to large storage tanks. Then we draw water from the storage tanks to take the fresh water to our hospital. I have been doing that for about three years, and we have plenty of fresh water for our hospital.”
Then she added a remarkable twist to the story: “All of our neighbors dug wells when they saw the amount of water we discovered. But even though they’ve gone down to a depth of fifty feet by hand digging, no one else has found water. I believe God put that well in my backyard so we could always have fresh water at our hospital.”
I left the doctor’s home with so much admiration and respect for this Christian couple. Their hard work, discipline, frugality, and absolute confidence and obedience certainly must make God smile everyday!