Saturday, 17 November 2012

Under Indian Skies.

I found porn under the mattress of my hotel bed.

I'm also constipated, but keep eating all the garlic naan anyway. When I *finally* felt like there was movement at the station, I was "out in the fields” as they say here in World Vision, so was faced with this:

It’s cool. I handled it.

Every day we are met with different, huge challenges. Mostly for the Indian people, but sometimes for us. We went to a hotel in a rural area the other day and it felt yucky. Carly found blood on her mattress and Kelly couldn’t breathe in her room from all the cigarette smoke. It was decided to all sleep in the one room, Carly and I lift my mattress up to carry out and she said, “Is … is that porn?” My first thought is that I’d accidentally brought porn with me on a World Vision trip to India, so I turned to look. “OH MY GOD. Carly, it’s not mine.”

We laughed so hard that we cried. Because who finds pornographic material in a remote Indian hotel? Bloggers do, that’s who.

That night we itched from bed bugs and there was no hot water and the window was broken. At midnight, a guy knocked on our door and wouldn’t go away. We were terrified, I got very angry and defensive and shouty. He wouldn’t leave … I pictured five guys waiting around the corner to jump me if I opened the door. Turns out he was there to spray for mosquitos. Which he did, and Kelly shouts "HE'S SPRAYING PETROL!" So we thought he was about to strike a match.

We didn't sleep very well.

This is Joy Toose from World Vision Australia, jotting down notes and facts on the organic farming practices and projects World Vision are implementing in villages in the Bilaspur area. It's taken years for these projects to be adopted and practiced. Familes are now growing healthy, sustainable crops for themselves and their communities, which means they do not pack up their belongings and end up in slums and huge garbage piles in Delhi.

The more I hear and see of the work World Vision does, the more I realise that it's all linked up, well planned and thought out. I'm not much of a fact person and I never pretend to be. I've been led by my heart my entire life. Some wonderful information can be found at

We travelled out for hours to get to see some farmers. They were so proud of their worms, their compost, their crops of pumpkin and chillies and zucchini. All organic.

 They welcomed us into their community with much fanfare and gifts of flowers. We sat underneath the most beautiful marquee. Forget the boring white ... the colours of this country are spellbinding. And somehow fill me with hope.

I took this photo of mundane washing in remote India for Mrs Woog ... who wrote a beautiful post HERE.

Carly put her welcome flowers in her hair and I told her she looked like Delta Goodrem at the Melbourne Cup but BETTER.

 I'm so grateful and relieved to have Carly, Kelly and Joy as travelling companions. The girls consoled me when I finally broke down yesterday ... I can handle threatening men at my hotel door at midnight but I can't handle walking in the hot sun to look at farming crops. Our theme for this trip is the name of Tim Costello's book - Hope. We keep saying it when things go awry, which is often.
I have hope that I may one day not be constipated. Hope that this papaya won't kill us. Hope that we get our internet connection sorted. 

Most of all, we have hope for kids like this.

I don't have much hope that I'll sort out the formatting problem in this blog post. But I have to let that go. I have hope that I might fall in love with this country the way other people seem to but even if I don't, that's ok. We are all different, what works for some does not work for others. I didn't come to India for a free curry ... I actually am passionate about using my blog to raise awareness about issues in the world that might not get the same exposure. I actually really do care about my fellow human beings on this planet, and get sad when I see injustice and unfairness. My trip to Niger back in April ended up being worth about $300,000 in media exposure for World Vision. Joy told me that the other day and I almost fell off my chair. 

It's taken me four hours fighting internet connectivity to get this post done. I'm going to have to skip breakfast and jump straight in the car to travel two hours on a dusty road to visit some local women's groups that World Vision have facilitated. This does not make me a hero. The real heroes are the World Vision workers themselves, as well as the people in these communities who are brave enough and strong enough to keep fighting and trying for a better life.

Because THAT is universal. 

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