Before you take a peak.....

You need to be aware this is our old blog. Dave (the blogger) started blogging when, as a family, we went to India for 3.5 months from April - August 2008. This blog is the story of our time there. You'll find lots about our story by going to the 'archives' section of the blog to the left below.

If you want to see our current news go to our new website and blog here..

July 01, 2008

What a difference a day makes.....!

This blogging business brings in to focus a number of things, one of which is the changes you experience in your life (here and elsewhere) from day to day. In India, no one day is ever the same!! The phrase 'that was another random day in Bangalore' has been coined by the family for virtually every day so far!

Today was no different. One minute I am blogging about our Church having £000's spent on it to give it a much needed face lift, then I am with Nandu and Raj in a staff meeting (they had never had them before I came and they are the focal point of the week) talking about some new form of paperwork and then soon after this meeting, we walked about 2 minutes down from the Fishermen Trust office to a fairly new slum that has been set up that houses about 40 families that are working on building a local bridge.

The families have set up the slum whilst they are working on the bridge and then, when they are finished, they will move on to another area where there is more work. Nomads I guess you could call them? The consequences are the kids obviously do not get an education as they are never around long enough. The slum is next to a rubbish tip and swamp.

We went to the slum today just to meet people there and find out more about what kind of slum it was. As I say it is just a short walk from the TFT office and met with around 30 odd kids. Raj translated and we found out there were no parents 'on site' - they were all working at the construction site. Women work out on the construction sites here too. There was just one 'Auntie' (the name they use for an older lady) who wasn't altogether there! The older 3 kids (13 years??) look after the babies all day etc.

We spent some time chatting and playing with the kids and gave them a few smalls presents that Tim had brought out. The look on the kids faces when they got the gifts cannot be conveyed in a blog I can tell you. Unreal.

All this was just a world apart from blogging about my Church that is spending thousands on a refurbishing it's building! There we were in huts made from old bits of wood and a plastic sheet over the top with 4/5 to just one room. What is this world like eh??

In response to the desperate situations we see here, some of which I saw in even greater detail today, I am constantly told when back in the UK:

"Yea but you can't compare these two worlds can you?"
"We need to do both don't we? i.e give to the poor and plough more money into our properties"

Is that really right?? Are you SURE you can't compare?? If you will come with me for a day to one of these slums and see what/who I have seen today maybe I will listen to theories like that....!!

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising my Church for refurbishing it's building - not at all - but at some point, someone somewhere has to shout very loudly
"this injustice has to stop!"
Why is it, just because of where they were born, should my kids have an abundance of wealth and provision whilst these little ones have nothing other than the responsibility of raising their tiny brothers and sisters in squalor?? Why?

Then tonight I am went off with another good friend (Sreeni) to one of the more permenant slums that he works in in the evenings. This slum is much, much bigger (hundreds of 'units') and was much more permenant than the ones we saw earlier today. On eof the families we went to visit were not there so we will try again tommorrow but the other house we went to was unreal. I will try and describe how things were but will fail I am sure.

Went on the back of the motorbike (as always) and got there by 8.30pm. Dozens of kids and adults out in the street that runs through the middle of the slum. The power was off (and every day occurance at the slum) and so the atmoshphere was very odd - just little candles all over the place. As we arrived Sreeni says "Dave we need to go careful as the dogs here are mad". Now we are used to mad India street dogs by now but these slum dogs go for anything they don recognise apparently!!
Went down a very small side street where the shambolic brick built house were crammed together. Everyone staring at the westerner and wonder what he was doing here. Went to the first house but no answer so we went over the road to the other house - all in complete pitch black with dozens of people watching. In the middle of two of the rooms (or houses as they call them) there was a flight of stairs - all broken and battered and up we go using our mobile phines to light the way as by now it was totally blacked out. At the top of the stairs 3 rooms (all separet houses) and we went to he corner one where the family (couple and an 18 month old) lived.

One candle in the corner of the room and the room was no more than 10 foot square and this was their house!! 1 single bed and 1 chair and a small TV, no cooking/washing facilities at all - all done outside.

Spoke (via Sreeni) to them and left some small baby toys Tim brought out. Prayed for them all. What do I have to offer eh??

They have no security of tenure at all. Could be evicted at any time by the government. Just a rush of emotions seeing this kind of house. Stark poverty and yet you can feel the community is knitted together - everyone watching everyones backs....
I get so depressed going to the slums and yet at the same time they are places of real joy. The kids are (generally) so happy and content (unlike mine at times!!). For me, I love these places. Seriously. I find a profound sense of purpose being there and the slums are where I love to be. I'm not trying to be any kind of hero I just think it's where I should be at times - with people who lives can be changed with so little. All this energises me and gets the adrenaline going again! Something I have needed over the past 2 days.... This is what I am here for.....