if i ever get accustomed to what i see in sonagacchi and do not find that it breaks my heart and destroys me, that is the day i should leave here. Spent some time tonight with my friends in the gach over tea and sodas and snacks. Walking from one friends room, where i just encountered 3 new girls under the age of 18, i was so discouraged. But the brokenness of what we encounter the lanes of the red light area did not end...walking down the lane their were more little girls standing the line, new faces, i have not seen, men crowding the lanes, looking the women and girls up and down, making their choice from among the many who do not have choices.
I do not want to get used to what i see here. plain and simple, injustice upon injustice, exploitation upon exploitation. I still find it all very shocking and dumb founding. I once had a team member tell me that it was not a big deal visiting one of the harshest, saddest rooms we visit. She said she has seen it before on tv and in movies. I was dumbfounded, this is not the movies, these are real girls with real stories being exploited before our eyes. God forgive us if think having seen it before it should not move us to our knees, break our hardened hearts and cause us to take action. I have been living a long time and though i have seen it over and over, I still find it appalling and so devastating...because it is real and a true reality for so so many women and girls around the world.
The friends i was visiting were from Sari Bari. Beautiful markers of HOPE in the midst of devastating injustice, they give me hope and reason to continue, to not let my heart hardened and say i have seen it all before. I live in the tension of two realities, the freedom and hope that sari bari acts as the medium to achieve in the lives of the women and the horrifying injustice and the reality of the blatant bondage in which so so many remain. This is the tension that all of us in kolkata work, marking the hope of Jesus our redeemer, risen, alive, transforming people and culture and remembering the suffering of the Christ, the who is with us, with each and every one of the devastated destroyed little girls who stand the line on sonagacchi tonight.
may the prayers of the saints be heard tonight on behalf of these children newly traded and these many forgotten women who lost their childhoods many years ago . Jesus have mercy on us and on the whole world.