Why am I here?
This little girl tapped on the window at the traffic lights in New Delhi, begging for money. Her fingernails on the glass sounded like a rat scratching at the door. I looked into her eyes, saw my kids eyes, your kids eyes. All the kids. She walked around to the other side of the car. Other children followed her, tappity-tapping too. Some couldn't have been more than two years old, walking out into the traffic and begging at the cars with skill and ease.
Yesterday we went to visit the place where a lot of these children live.
It was disgusting. I had to put my scarf over my nose. Thought I would vomit. My brain was all "ABORT THE MISSION. ABORT. WHAT ARE YOU DOING?"
I figured the least I could do was witness it, this huge pile of debris they called home.
I've never seen anything like it in my life, sat there on a plastic chair like some kind of visiting royalty while an amazing group of young people previously addicted to drugs performed skits about HIV awareness and the value of education. I clapped, dutifully.
Obviously, the only logical conclusion would be to bring the army in. Because it's a disaster, right? Get that stuff away. Clear it all up, build some new houses, plant gardens, then find all of the people jobs. They'd never have to go ragpicking again. Simple!
The kids were so excited. So thrilled we were there, looking at them, shaking their hands and taking their photo.
It's the only life they've ever known. For generations. "Solving" issues like urban poverty is variable upon so many different things. I take all of my hats off to all of the World Vision officers in the area, working with these people and showing them options, choices. Showing them that people care.
Thank you for reading this blog post. I know poverty is hard to digest ... I wanted to eat their pile up and take it away forever. Instead I walked away from it gladly, my thongs sliding in the dank mud and strangely soft ground. I couldn't wait to leave. I never want to go back.
Here's some quick footage I shot as I was leaving.
My stupid phone stopped filming just as I walked past a gorgeous group of young children.
I said "Goodbye!" And they all said, "GOODBYE!!" And laughed, gleeful I was talking to them. They get ostracised a lot in the greater community. When they go to a doctor, they must wait until they're very last, let all of the respectable people get seen to first.
They blew me kisses when I blew them one. I'm sad I didn't get it on film.
Luckily I can just describe it to you instead. Maybe that's why I'm here.
A bloody brilliant gift idea for anyone of any age is this book by Tim Costello.
"Hope - Moments of Inspiration in a Challenging World." I have my copy over here with me, like a bible. Because this whole world's crazy and wild at heart and the older I get, the less I understand. All proceeds go to support World Vision's work across the world. You can buy a copy HERE
The brand spanking new World Vision blog is up! HERE ... we flew in to Bilaspur today, soon we'll be off to Raipur.
More information on World Vision and child sponsorship: www.worldvision.com.au
I don't know if this post is right. I could have written it a hundred different ways ... never have I seen what I saw yesterday. None of us had, and we were all silent when we sat at lunch afterwards, slathering antibacterial gel on our hands. With help, some of the kids there will escape that lifestyle, get an education, and make something of themselves. It will be hard. Most worthwhile things are.