Sunday, July 8, 2007

we have found ourselves in a routine of having a big community lunch with families on the street everyday at noon.. we take them to these great little places onthe sidewalk where the food smells great but is not so cool for us to eat... after ordering like 12 or so meals we just hang out ... yesterday was great.. we were spendeng time with three mothers all of whom are begging after thier husbands left them ... one is 7 months pregnant and the other, Arzu whose picture is above with her 1 year old... the other has a 2 year old, who is the little girl above... these women are really cool.. and they are full of fire..their interviews were gripping... they shared with us what it is like for them to live on the street... at the end of the day i traded my video camera for a baby (for 10 mins) and one of the moms, Arzu, interviewed diya... that's a move i hope we can play around with more by hopefully having the mom's interview people on the street.. we'll see what happens...

today another woman entered our lives and pressed the concept of urgency in human needs for our grou...her picture is above and i didn't include the baby she was caring for becuase well... it's kindof too much- i'd rather introduce you to her i nthe film and giver her a chance to tell her story... but this woman is not only in total distress but has also bridged any gap we might have felt with these people... because her situation and this baby's health is so grave we were all worried... our group and the other mothers on the street. this woman, umpim, has been carrying around her sister's four month old baby trying to care for her... she, the baby, doesn't have a name and is so sick... she looks like if you touch her she'll break... well, both of them look that way... and this women doesn't even really know how to take care of her... in fact, the other women were teaching her how to feed the baby today after lunch, which was an amazing moment of comradery since usually women fight over our attention in hopes of gaining the full benefit of these white folks with money... little do they know that a of all- we aren't loaded and b of all we are going to help them all anyway... but when the need is so great, rationalizing is kindof out the window... we were able to get the baby some formula and we are bringing them both to the sisters of charity tomorrow when we go to visit for the first time... the woman caring for this baby just wants to give her to someone who will take care of it... so, hopefully they can help...

this story has so much to teach us on why we are here.. sometime s you feel y ouself falling in to the habit of searching for legitimacy of need... for example... we found out that alot of what the families have been telling us is not true and that some of the people we are working with and more interested in taking advantage of us... that's another funny thing... i never expected NOT to be taken advantage of here... isn't that funny... i mean can we really expect that someone whose whole survival is dependant on the giving of others to expect that all people are deeply giving ...i mean, if you don't have a plan you might be as silly as 6 people coming to calcutta to hang out on the street... the diffence is that those 6 people have countless resouces at their finger tips. i think part of our real work here is to give anway-- i.e. oh... ok... your husband is alive when you told us he was dead, when in fact he is just dead to you because he is a drug addict and doesn't take care of you or your children and exploits you instead... like i'm NOT going to feed you now... Mar reminded us of peter marin, co-founder of the catholic worker movement who lived himself as a poor man... someone asked him if he ever got frusterated in being with the poor and being lied too and hurt and taken advantage of... he responded no, becaue he knew how deep the evil runs. i guess for one week, we havea chance to give all our time and available resources to people that are invisible... i mean these are people that are falling through the crackers of a place that is already really broken... film-making and book-writing aside... we are discovering the extent to which people from rich worlds can enter into relationship with those in real struggle... kindof another perspective on this idea of "untouchable"...

two kids from the street just kindof went to church with colin and i this morning... we both took a kid by the hand and acted as if they were ours..we were like a little family.. we sat towards the back to not cause a scene and they were so so good. at one point one of them had to go to the bathroom.. and i was like .. what!!! i have never even babysat really... i don't do this! so we went outside and i asked some guy where the restroom was.. there wasn't one.. i won't lie, i was really thinking... kid, you are more street wise than i will ever be- what do you usually do when you have to go to the bathroom, which is go in the street somewhere.. but i thought that since she was with me, we are doing this the right way... but the bathroom was like in some gated building.. when i told her i didn't know where it was , she said nevermind. i guess holding it was a better option thatn not hanging out with us... after what became a pretty long homily, she actually just ran out of the church and then came back really relieved.. we laughed-after she sat back down next to me, this man besideme whispered, "where are they from." i responded, "outside"... he said.. "and you brought them IN HERE ?!"


Pat & John Preston said...

Dear Jaime,

Greetings from Ireland where we are following your Blog. What wonderful lessons you are teaching us. You are learning so much yourself. It is amazing to read of all your adventures, and all your good work.
We are keeping busy with our own work, and heading to Shannon airport tomorrow to meet our group - and then to take them around Ireland for 10 days, quite a different "adventure" to yours.
Please know we are thinking of you every day and praying all continues to go well.
You are certainly leaving your mark on India!
Love from County Donegal,
Pat & John

Jamie said...

WOW... what a global moment we are creating!! how fun! safe travels also to you and your group.. please fill me in on how things go .. i can't wait to maybe go with you sometime... i've never been to ireland before- clearly you are the folks to make it happen... thank you so much for your prayers and thoughts... as things are getting challenging, we are needing them.
peace, jamie