Caitlin said something on our first day here that has haunted me for two days and this morning swims relentlessly around my brain.
“there’s no relief here”.
She reflected in a stunned fashion how everywhere else you have patches of poverty, bad neighborhoods, good neighborhoods, maybe a park, but there are always areas of relief. Where you can breathe. Where there is no trash. Where there is some sort of evidence of hope.
These parts of India are not like that. There is no relief. It is shack after shack after shack. The poor, the naked, the widow, all congregating and existing as what appears to the outsider as “hopeless”. Even those who have managed to start up a small business selling soda are attempting to sell to people with no money. We step cautiously around piles if feces on the streets with flowers laid on top. It’s a dengue fever breading ground.
We spoke with Father Dhana about this over breakfast. Glenn asked him if there was a way out for them, and Dhana’s answer was short and powerful and not unlike our own in the US. Their hope is in the children. Educate the children and this horrendous cycle will break.
I immediately think about the size of that task. 1.3 billion people are in India. 70% of those live in the outlying villages.
70% of ONE POINT THREE BILLION
It’s 3:50am and too early for math. My numbers might be slightly off, but you get the picture. Millions and millions and millions of people.
So my thoughts go to water. Some minds would go to building schools, but we see a lot of schools. They don’t always have water, or sanitation at these schools, but they do exist here, and the government pays for them. My mind goes to water because many children spend their days collecting water rather than going to school. That’s their life, and if that’s their life, then their hope just took a nose dive.
I’ve talked with children who receive a bore well and have asked “what’s the best part of having this well in your village?”. The number one answer has always been, without fail, “now I can go to school” or second, “I have more time to study”.
Today we will dedicate two wells in two separate villages. Home to over 1,000 people. Clean water for a healthy start, and a new way of life. One that frees them up to get an education. Not only that, but we get to talk about the love of Jesus. Our one true hope, and what compels us to be here in the first place… and that is just plain exciting!
I suddenly remember a song we sang together this morning.
“My hope is in You Lord. All the day long. I won’t be shaken by drought or storm. The peace that passes understanding is my song and I sing, my hope is in You Lord. I will wait on You. You are my refuge.”
If you have wanted to make a difference. I mean, real significant life altering destiny changing difference, and God is speaking to you to bring water. Do it. It’s easy, and it’s the start of everything.