Saturday, July 21, 2007
like all things that take up alot of time and energy, you find yourself really pushing it to the limit at the end... this project is no different ... it's almost like ..AHHHHH let's just get this all together... we have been meeting with our mom's at the school and we are meeting more and more people who are happy about our project.. which is funny because colloquially our women can't even go inside to have a cup of coffee with us, but maybe its just our enthusiasm and what might be considered as the pleasant stupidity of our work that moves them to join the cause .... nah, but seriously, we have really encountered some folks here-people from india and america and canadia and sri lanka who have jumped at the idea of sharing time and energy with street mom's and are happy to hear our perspective on the drama that has been unfolding before us ... in the unending need for clothing and medicine and schooling and affection, we are continuing to learn new things about our friends... and it's interesting that they are now kindof trusting us with the truth of their lives and being real about what they can do .. at times we find that they don't really like eachother and would rather not work together ... at other times its the truth about relationships and the harm that those relationships are causing their families ... it's also the truth about their experience, that thier professsion entails piling their kids up on a tarp at night on the corner and sleeping there all night ... i know because this little pile of kids is right across the street from where we live and we didn't see them there all the time becasue 1. calcutta streets at night, even our street which is very central and in a "good" section of town...are really really scary.... and 2. when it rains they go to the other corner that has a roof ... i know that if you have been following my blog, i might be repeating myself ... i honestly just don't remember ... but each day here we are discovering more about our undestanding of poverty... and today my thought is that when we think of "the poor" and "helping the poor" i think we automatically associate that with a feeling of thanks on their part and that they will automatically be "grateful" for "all we have done for them.." .. well, for sure, in this month... i am reassured that i hate the term "the poor"... the women i have met are attitudy, demanding, clever, sometimes manipulative, concerned with thier appearnaces and sometimes crack thier kids on the ass when they run across the street without them.... and guess what... they are alive and thier kids are pudgy and some of them are in school and most of them pay the rent for the rest of thier families that live in the village or, by default, support their husband's drug habit... they also take care of eachother's babies and yell at eachother alot... all this is to say that they are complicated... and maybe complicated adds dignity to a communtiy of people whose esteem is unrecognizeable to themselves... yesterday, we were able to put one of the husbands into rehab... since his wife is seriously considereing starting a small busines of selling sarees on the street, his habit is going to be no good for profit... and i thought as we wished him luck, the story his baby will be able to tell someday.... can you imagine... "yeah, when i was 1 and a half, my mom was a beggar and my dad was an addict and then these white people and diya came to our street and threw my dad into rehab and hooked my mom up with 50 sarees to sell..." i doubt if sonu, the kid who might tell this story even though he slept through most of it, will ever have a reason too... will his future be one where this story will have any significance... will he be in a place where he is distanced enough from this reality to find it meanigful in some way... ?? meaningful as in "those people were wack" or "what does this mean for me..?"
in another fit of drama, i found myself walking down the street at about 11:30pm one night looking for someone ... in the rain... and in all the creepiness that is park street at night, i instantly ran into about 3 mom's, one after another, that i knew... they walked with me and helped me find who i was looking for ... but it was such an interesting experience to not only run into someone i know on the street... but to leave them in the street while i escaped from the creepy... so, no...in my opinion people whose immediate human needs are not met should not be refered to as "the poor"... we've ruined that term to accomidate our own complacency, ... these folks demand to be looked at becuase they don't let us walk by without reminding us of what they deserve... after a converstation with mar about all of this-i think that from now on it might be a good idea to ask for a window seat at restaurants... because it's too easy to eat in the back..