Monday, April 30, 2007

Sad News from Ktown

Just wanted give ya a quick update on the things going on here. It has been a rough couple of weeks here in kolkata, one of our friends passed away after falling down the stairs and then consequently being neglected and left to die on the street until kristin and gita found her and took her to a mother teresa home where she passed away a few days later. Last week while we were trying to get a couple kids registered for school (it’s a real bad sitch) we took em to the doctor for routine tests and decided to go ahead and do them on the boys two year old sister because she is always sick. We received news that our two year old little friend is HIV Positive but her brothers are okay. Consequently, kristin (who has really born the weight of these hard things...going to the hospital etc) took the little girl and her mom for additional testing and they both tested HIV positive. It is especially discouraging because this woman has been tested every month by the sex workers union and they never gave her the correct results. I have to say bill and melinda gates foundation are going to get a big fat letter from me about this one since they gave them a million dollars a couple of years ago to this organization to prevent aids and this woman has obviously been HIV positive for 2 years and they have been hiding the results, we assume to keep their numbers down. We are looking at all the options for this family and how best to serve them. So we and most certainly they need your prayers…we are hopeful that the father will also get tested so the family can get free treatment from a pretty good governement prevention program. And that our friend “priya” will work for freeset or for us at sari bari. If she works at freeset they have a preschool where the little girl can stay while she works.

So as if this might not be enough for our community to handle, today the landlord told us that we have to move out in four months from our place in sari bari. Basically, it comes down to his fear of being found out as helping women from the trade. He as tried to impose almost impossible standards for quiet and calls everytime someone makes a peep. Anyway, I am hoping that this is God closing one door to open another one. We could really use a building all to ourselves…because it seems as much space as we can create that many women we can give jobs. We are full in kalighat right now with 11 and could easily double by the end of the year if we had the space. So maybe this is God opening the door for more women. Right now it just feels like one more thing on our plate. Anyway, this landlord was also promising to help us register legally, now that is also in question…so frustrating because we really need to make the business legit so we can move forward. Ultimately, having a building is important because women are now depending on us for their livlihood and this is not a responsibility that we are bearing lightly.

So all this heaviness but there is still a lot hope in K-town. Not like the old days of defeat and sadness because we know that in the end all things bring hope and hope will not disappoint us and now we groan in these tents we call bodies but ultimately freedom will happen…freedom is happening. We can have hope here on earth and hope of something more later. New life will spring from that which has been desolated.

Please just keep us in your prayers. Pray for “priya” and her family. Pray that her little sons would get into school, her husband would release her to leave the trade and her daughter would be radically and profoundly healed. Pray for a new place for sari bari

Thanks for walking with us as we stumble down this road of exodus.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

some sketches

Posted some sketches on the Art in Community amoung the Poor Blog. Check out the link if you are interested.

if i were a pirate...

My pirate name is:

Red Mary Flint

Passion is a big part of your life, which makes sense for a pirate. Like the rock flint, you're hard and sharp. But, also like flint, you're easily chipped, and sparky. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

culture shock, flying cockroaches and beautiful community

yeah, so even though was still in asia, returning to kolkata has been a bit rough. i think the issue is more in my mind than anything else...the reality is still the same. that i want to be here and live my life with these women is still the same but i am tired and a somewhat easily irritated by stupid little things. it is possible that there is the hormonal stuff going on a well but i hated to blame it all on that....

yesterday, i gave myself permission to take it slow....i still spent the day at sari bari but not in my usual full on way. i basically felt like crap, so i laid on the floor for a couple of hours and just talked to the ladies. i am really glad i did because that gave me the energy to have a really wonderful afternoon with all the trainees. i have a hard time not pushing myself through being sick or down or whatever but it seems it only hurts me and those around me. i think i am going to try to do better at the discipline of rest and slowness because i end up being a much nicer person in the end.

one of the ladies at sari bari has TB. we knew when we hired her that she had had it in the past but she said she was all better. none the less, we wanted to double check and make sure because if one has TB they could all get TB and that would be horrible. well after the tests, it turns out that she still has active TB in her right lung and needs to undergo treatment in the hospital. so the plan was that she would be admitted yesterday to a pretty good but low cost TB hospital in k-town. when it was time to go she just started so sad. i realized that she thought she might not see everyone again...that she might die. she went around and was saying goodbye to everyone personally inspite of the fact that we promised regular visits and that we would be standing by her side in this whole process. it was heart breaking really and it ended up being a beautiful moment as the ladies began to gather around her and give encouraging positive was a beautiful expression of community, of our sari bari family being a family. we ended up on the floor laying our hands on her and praying for her...some of the ladies reaching out to lay a hand with me and kiran. it was really amazing and the peace that seemed to come on her was beautiful. this woman is the newest trainee and started late and from the begining there was some ladies who were not her biggest fan but it was these same ladies who brought her comfort and encouragement. she came back from the hospital a couple hours later and it turns out she will be admitted today so it was kind weird to go through all that and then have her back again to sew but maybe just what she needed to see...that she is apart of of us...our friend, our sister, our family.

we are learning alot here about integration. lots of new good things are going to be happening the next month as we seek to bring a deeper level of community and accountablity into all of our relationships. we are seeking to integrate will be a challenge but i think ultimately a beautiful expression of the body working together....pray for us and for our bengali team.

and oh yes, the other night while i was talking to my mom on the phone, this huge flying cockroach came in my room...and i started freaking out. i hate cockroaches, yes, i know i live in kolkata and they are everywhere but i still hate them and what i hate even more is killing them. i hate the crunch!! so when i got off the phone i realized that i could not go to bed with this thing in my room...what if it flew and landed on me while i was sleep...eekkkkkkk!! so i brandished my trusting flip flop and killed the little bugger on the first try! still hate killing them but it was going to be him or me sleeping somewhere else...i decided he needed to go.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

the hairs on my head

hey we arrived in thailand. got my hair cut...actually all of my hairs cut!

and last night i had a reminder of what it is like to be with 2 major extroverts...could not get in a word in edgewise...i tried several times and failed.

more soon...

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Amazing beautiful india

india is in the villages and on the trains...the city is just an intense microcosim of the village...the city makes more sense in the context of seeing the village. the villages are so beautiful, peaceful, simple. i went to visit one of the ladies from sari bari who has been sick on monday and the trip was amazing. the train was insane, we packed in the ladies car easily less than one square foot person. the ladies were loud and sassy and full of life. it was actually fun even though when i came of the train my clothes were drenched with sweat. it was kind fun to be like a spy because everyone assumed i could not speak the language, so it was interesting to listen to the conversation, fight and wonderings about who i was and what i do etc.

the village was abosolutely gorgeous. i mean it was poor, but poverty has a different face in the village and family is a beautiful experssion of community in the villages. because your neighbors are your family or your inlaws. they share everything, help each other. 5 families pooled their resources to serve me some pepsi and snacks...i felt a little overwhelmed at the generosity and sacrifice. the cost to them was great whereas i probably would not think twice about serving the same thing to them. and i was only one eating they would not share it with me. i do not think i will ever get over the generosity of the poor. our friend is getting better and we look forward to having her back soon.

the last week has been amazing...yes i know i keep using the word. but really i get not over the goodness. we showed the ladies the passion of the christ and had a little easter celebration and i was profound for some of the ladies. and profound for me to translate the story into bangla. and these days since we have seen some changes in the ladies. iwish i could show you pictures because the ladies are so beautiful and the pics are amazing. god is so good and i can how he is working everyday here.

i made goat curry for 30 for our celebration. my first time and it turned out great. the ladies said they liked it but i did not add enough salt. they all said it was great first effort...which is high praise coming from an indian lady. we all actually went to the goat shop and watch them carve the goat and give us the meat. i have always been afraid to do that but i was not big of a deal. we went early in the morning so the meat was fresh. i think i might be able to do it again.

headed to thailand this morning for a conference. really looking forward to the break. more soon...