Tuesday, 20 November 2012

This Is The Only Blog Post I Came To India To Write.

Yesterday I went to a slum. No big deal. There's heaps of slums here. I actually said the words:

"This is quite a nice slum!" 

Before I left Australia I sponsored a child in India - specifically a girl.

Specifically, this girl.

 Photo by Misho

Rashni is exactly two days younger than my four year old son Rocco. The day she was born, my heavily pregnant self was walking the earth in a panic because my husbands appendicitis was actually aggressive cancer and the doctors were pretty grim.

She's lived her whole life since then.

So has Rocco.

Oh my lord I can't believe I will ever see them again Dave you are a SPUNK and I love you. Max I hope you had a great time at camp sweetheart. GAH!

Rashni cried when she met me. She was terrified, thought I was a doctor with scary goggles on who was there to give her an immunisation. Her mother is unemployed, her father is an office worker, and they live with her grandmother and extended family in a tiny room in a slum in Raipur. TINY.

Photo by Misho

I took my glasses off, made some soothing sounds, then gave her some shiny bangles and hair accessories. Switched my phone onto "narcissistic blogger selfie mode" and when she saw herself she BEAMED.

She was still very suspicious. Good - you keep being suspicious, Rashni. The world is full of people who will take advantage and rip you off and hurt you.

But the world is also full of people who care for no reason at all and expect nothing back in return.

Hmmm, the strange white doctor may have taken her goggles off but I *still* don't trust her.

Rashni was very excited and happy when it came time for me to leave. I don't blame her ... it was like a doof all up in her slum house, a seething mass of humanity that is India every step of the way. Madness, chaos, people shouting.

She waved goodbye to me as I sat in the car.

I turned and watched her fade to view as we drove off. Told Kelly and Smaggle and Joy that I will see her again one day, yes siree.

Silence for a moment.

"When I pay for her to fly to Australia after her university graduation because I'm never coming to this country again."

We all laughed.

I'm a very jaded, suspicious, paranoid person. There's only a few things I believe in at this point: karma, love, redemption, compassion ... and the importance of giving to others. Sponsoring a child with World Vision is the real deal. You can see all of their admin costs, percentages, facts, and Annual Reports HERE. Where the funds go HERE. They are refreshingly transparent.

Most people will not get to meet their sponsored child at the beginning of their journey like I did yesterday. They just sponsor a child anyway. We did back when Max was little - a little boy called Melku from Ethiopia. Dave has Melku's photo up on his office wall ... he's turning into a strapping young man now, like Max.

When I get home I'll stick photos of Rashni to the fridge. My boys will learn all about her and all the children in her slum and all the other slums. (There's a lot of slums.) The memory of meeting her will fade. But right now she's as real to me as anything. I hope she gets to grow up, with compassion in her heart. Maybe even sponsor a child herself.

I hope I see her again. But it's ok if I don't.

Sponsor a child

(One-off gifts HERE.)

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