Ok, on my last @savingmoses trip, I had the privilege of visiting a blind school in Calcutta & I watched these guys who live in this school & I was THOROUGHLY AMAZED by them!!! What I found most amazing was their total joy, compassion, comraderie and zeal for life – all with no sight. While most of them have come from some really rough backgrounds, I never once had the sense that they were unhappy, ungrateful, shameful or unloved. I sensed absolutely no self-pity, but only love, care and comraderie. Two things:
1 – to watch these little men play cricket, check out this AMAZING & short video: http://www.vimeo.com/21004207
2 – for some cool pics from our trip, pls check out: http://www.stevestantonphotography.com/blog/
I met a really incredible woman in Calcutta, named Kali. She is extraordinary in several ways, but let me 1st share a little bit of Indian culture that was explained to me while I was there. Generally, the Indian society is male dominated & females are generally relegated to a strictly domestic role, particularly in the older generations. With this in mind, let me have the privilege of introducing Kali to you: she is probably around 50 years old w a few grown daughters who have several children themselves. I think that Kali’s husband left here many years ago & she lives in a very poor village with no apparent way for any improvement or opportunities to excel. Her village is so poor that Calcutta Mission of Mercy has been delivering food to this village 6 days a week for more than 5-7 years.
Here’s one of the things that makes Kali so marvelous: she made the decision that she didn’t want to see her grandchildren (who are quite small) continue in this seemingly hopeless squalor & crushing poverty. So one day, she asked one of the food delivery men from CMM about the possibility of having someone come to her village consistently to teach the children to read & provide some basic education. She explained about her grandchildren & agreed to provide some space for this requested education. Some space turned into a small dirt floor classroom where now there is daily education for all the children who have agreed w their parents to be a part of the educational program w CMM.
We had the great honor of getting to watch some of this training for the 3-5 year old group (pre-kindergarten & kindergarten ability) & I was really moved to see these little people learning their ABCs, reading, writing & some basic English.
As we were finishing our visit, I was told that because of Kali’s generosity to donate the classroom space, she is now considered to be the village grandmother & is very highly respected.
When the aid workers asked her why she had decided to pursue some education for her grandkids, she explained that just because she & her daughters live destitution, she wanted to give her grandkids a chance for a better life by getting them some education to open more opportunities for their future.
I’ve thought about this in relation to saving Moses & I’ve concluded that it’s extremely important for the kids in the older range of saving Moses to receive some very fundamental education so that they can begin to walk the path of education to not only better themselves but also their community & to extend Jesus’ love to & through them.
Kali, may God richly bless you for your vision, heart & generosity. You are changing the future one child at a time.
Check out this video w the kids learning their ABCs 🙂
Our time in Calcutta has been very interesting. This morning we were up pretty early to visit a feeding program for an extremely poor community – it was interesting for many reasons. One observation is that there were only moms, sisters & grandmoms bringing the kids who are mostly under 7 to get their meal for the day. In this community, there’s a tremendous need for the kids to receive education bc this is the primary hope to transform the community. But when I think about @savingmoses, what stands out to me the most is the need for the infants in the community to receive immunizations, clean water & some basic hygiene education for their moms.
The picture that you see w this blog was one of the cool kids we were able to meet at the Ganges river yesterday 🙂
Ok here’s the latest update from Calcutta – we’ve been here now for a little more than 24 hours & unfortunately this is a really short trip so we’ll be leaving in the next 36 hours.
So far we’ve enjoyed our time & getting familiar w this culture – I always find that my 1st 24 hours in any country is always an orienting & acclimatizing time (making the time change, meeting new people, learning culture essentials, . . . a flood of everything new when my body & brain are barraged by an onslaught of unfamiliarities).
Yesterday, we had the privilege of visiting a blind school & it was an amazing experience. We saw kids filled w smiles, happy, friendly, content, warm & genuinely loving, regardless of their impairment or age. It was really amazing to watch them interact w such kindness & love among themselves – no fighting, teasing or conflicts but lots of warmth, teamwork, friendship & touching. We watched a group of boys who are blind or severely visually impaired play cricket, hitting & catching the ball w a rattle inside. It was amazing to say the least!
Today, we get to join everyone for a really cool church service & possibly, we may get to meet some children from some extremely difficult backgrounds. I’ll keep you posted, but pls continue to pray that God will provide for us “Pharoah’s daughter” to help us with @savingmoses – I’ll try to upload a video from the blind school w a little txh help ,)
We’ve been now in Calcutta for about 12 hours & we are still in the jet lag time warp. Thankfully, we were able to take a few hours to go outside & get some fresh air & nice sunlight 🙂
Here are some interesting thoughts so far:
*Calcutta has 17million people & it used to be the capital of India under the British leadership
*there are over 2billion people in India & statisticians estimate that India’s population will exceed the population of China by 2020
*if I understood correctly, ultrasounds are illegal for pregnant women to cut down on the abortion of girl babies.
*the love of Jesus is expressed in lots of different ways – to the benefit of the one receiving love
Loving people w Jesus’ love is very transformational not only to the person who receives His love but also through whom Jesus is expressing His love. Just something I’m thinking about.
Here’s a really cool pic for a little flavor 🙂