This is my fourth visit to India. I think this is the first time I’ve visited that I have realized how little I understand about the culture. The more I know the less I understand. The more I see the less I “get” it. One thing I do know is that people are people. The men, women, and children of Salem, India are loved by God. We visited this small village inside of Salem today. These people are so very poor. Many of the children did not have clothes on. They either had a shirt or pants, but most did not have both. The very little children had no clothes at all.
Rajendran thought it would be a very good experience for the girls to go and get the water like the women and girls of the village do for their families every day. The girls were very excited about it, but then the leader of the village came over and told us that the well was broken and there was no water. No water. And here I was walking around like a big baffoon carrying my purified water bottle.
There was garbage everywhere, mixed with raw sewage and animal waste. Babies with bellies sticking out not from being fed, but from malnourishment were walking around in all of it. I know that much of the world lives this way, but it never ceases to break my heart.
This older woman spends every day of her life stringing together silver chains that make necklaces and bracelets. She makes $.80 a day for her tedious work. Raj told us that many of these people go blind early in life due to the strain that is put on their eyes from this work. We asked him what will happen to this woman when she can no longer work. He said that she will have to beg. There will be no more work for her. For all her work, this is where she lives.
Why these people have to live in this condition is beyond me. Why someone hasn’t explained basic sanitaion to them, or why they haven’t made simple efforts to eliminate disease and sickness from their community boggles my mind. I am so thankful to God for Pastor Job and his wife Sarah who live in this “village within a city”. They love Jesus and they are a shining light in the darkness. I am thankful that GCC teams will be in this village in August to help the school children learn English, and share the love of Jesus with them.
There were temples on every corner of this village. One is being constructed right now. My prayer as I was walking around this village was what I have claimed as my life verse:
The people living in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the shadow of death a light has dawned… isaiah 9:2
The light of Jesus has dawned on this village. It’s a new day, and hope is coming…