I love my husband. There is never a true down time for him in the way that I think of down time. He is always talking, listening, inquiring, visiting, and learning about the people around him. He has far more endurance than I, and one of my favorite things to do is to watch him connect with others. He is the real deal.
Goa, India is a breathtakingly beautiful place to refresh, refill and relax. After 17 days of extensive travel, upside down sleep, medical camps and water projects, it’s where we decided to go to get “right” again. That was our only plan anyway.
One of the people he met on the first day, and immediately connected with was Hanaman. Hanaman rents out water sports equipment down at the beach. At dinner, Vik would tell us all about Hanaman. How he came to Goa at age 13 to work, and how his family wanted him to welcome his 13 year old brother there too, and find him a job… but Hanaman shakes his head. “Education first”, he says. Even in the most poverty stricken areas, the dreams of the youth remain similar.
No matter how hard we tried, we could not get Hanaman to sit and eat with us. So we would stand there on the beach, and talk. Hours. Vik’s Hindi is particularly bad, but Hanaman’s english made up for it. That didn’t keep Vik from trying to work on his Hindi. Maybe why the conversations went so long.
We fell in love with Hanaman. There was just something about him. Something that said, “there’s so much more to me than what you see with your eyes”.
The last day Hanaman told us just two details of his village in Karnataka. The only two we needed to hear for God to say “and THIS is why you are in Goa!”
I would give anything if I could have captured his face for you as he painfully relayed this simple truth. “My family is still there and they have no clean drinking water”.
Making no promises, we took his information, the location of the village and went home. Praying that God would do what God does, and answer the prayers of the suffering.
Father Dhanapragasm of DPWA who had just organized the first five health camps we had participated in responded immediately to my request of “do you have any contacts in Karnataka?”. Indeed he did. Several days and 300 kilometers later, his friend was standing in Hanaman’s village. He says there are 2500 people in this village comprised of over 280 families, with no water. Their shallow sources have gone dry, and their government supplied tank remains empty and without electricity. Someone from each family walks about a mile with a cartload of vessels to a single borewell that produces contaminated water, and they fill up. They cook with it, they wash with it, they drink it. Then they hope for the best.
He described the people as “soft cornered and friendly”. Said the women are more to suffer than the men, and that 3 or 4 borewells dug to 500 feet will “solve their water problem” and that their situation is particularly urgent in the heat of these Summer months. He also relayed this experience:
“In one of the houses I asked for a glass of water to drink myself. The household women brought a glass of water which was very dirty/contaminated. I had drank little, because If I don’t drink she may feel bad that is why I had drank little. After drinking my throat problem has started.”
Oh my heart! He drank this dirty water so she wouldn’t feel bad.
So here we are. Back on the opposite side of the world with a desperate need in our hearts to bring water to a village we never knew existed. Moved by a love for a boy that could not have possibly seen this coming but hoped against hope. A love for a boy that moved us to take action on his behalf. A love for a boy named Hanaman, that can only be described as Agape. God’s love… and it has came like a flood.
Will you love Hanaman?