Brenda Flower my travel companion and I arrived in Delhi last night at 9:30pm. We had a great flight and the 15 hour flight wasn't so bad since I was able to sleep through a lot of it. James and Shannon the AG missionaries came to pick us up at the airport and we stayed at the AG guest house. Didn't see much of Delhi except for cows walking along the streets intermingled with the traffic and then the thick fog in the morning. When we arrived in Kolkata at 11:40 this morning, Janelle, the local missionary came to pick us up at the airport. The ride to the Baptist Mission Society Guest House (BMS) was an eye opening experience..
There is so much traffic, noise, people and pollution. This is the most crowded, poverty stricken place that I have ever seen! The most outstanding things that I saw on the ride to the BMS was the dirty, little huts assembled not 2 feet from the side of the highway where little children live with their mothers. Then as we were stopped in traffic, a boy who looked to be about 12 was walking in between the cars begging at each of the car windows. He was missing his right arm from the shoulder down and there was no hand on his left arm. I was told that this was purposely done to him to make him a more sympathetic beggar. The person resposible for his maming was probably nearby to collect the cash.
Ambika Pandey a local missionary, took the entire team out to lunch today. We then went shopping for some Indian outfits to wear. We took a taxi back to the BMS. What a ride!! These drivers make 6 lanes out of 4 lane road. They are quite skilled at dodging cars coming from all angles, bicycles, people and oh yes, the cows. I won't be sitting in the front seat anymore!! We actually piled 7 ladies into one cab. He made some sort of comment that some of us had to get out. Most of us acted as though we didn't understand and Janelle told him in Bengali to get a move on and she would give him 50 extra Rupees (about $1). He moved on and gladly took the extra money. He went past the gated entrance to the BMS so when we got out we had to walk a short way back to the gate. Along the street, on the sidewalk were little children sleeping on dirty blankets. We were told this is where they live. Some of them jumped up to ask us for money. We were told it was ok to give thiese children money because their mothers would go and buy food for them. I need to go and change some of my money into coins because I know I will be walking by them frequently.
we will be going to church tomorrow and then Liz wants to show me the market place where she bought the yarn - 100 pounds of it!! I will probably spend the rest of the day organizing the yarn and planning what patterns to use the yarn for. I will be teaching on Monday at a brand new vocational school right across from one of Mother Theresa's buildings. There is still a practicing order of nuns carrying on her work. It is greatly needed.
Well I will be going to bed tonight feeling sad for the unfortunate people and children that I saw today. I can only pray that what I do in the short time that I am here will somehow make a difference. And to everyone who has supported me, know that you are a part of helping to bring a little light to this very dark place.
Blessings to all,