Overwhelming Poverty, but Inspiring Spirit
Last week Kara and I got the opportunity to teach a village about livelihood, sanitation, and basic cleanliness. For example, we explained how it’s important to wash your hands, not have too many people in one house, cook raw meats all the way through, etc. After that, Kristen taught the village how to make a basic cake so that they can then sell it to make a living. They informed us that it’s most of these people’s first time to see a white person. It was a really awesome experience that I won’t forget.
After the lessons, Kristen and I were trying to teach the kids how to play duck, duck goose. At first it was difficult because some couldn’t understand what we were saying due to a language barrier, but then once they all understood the game started to pick up. I looked up and realized the whole entire village was surrounding us, roaring, consumed, and engaged in this simple, innocent game of duck, duck goose. My heart connected with the village instantly. It was like all the struggles and pain of this village drenched in poverty had just turned into pure joy and laughter.
Going to different villages everyday with the malnourished children’s outreach program has been heart wrenching. I’ve never experienced this depth of poverty before. It is overwhelming how much poverty there is and how many people need help. Most of these people live on 150 pesos a day (which is $2.50) with 2-9 kids. God has definitely been changing my heart and worldview through these experiences. It’s hard to face this kind of poverty and I couldn’t even begin to imagine living in it. The poverty is overwhelming, but the spirit is inspiring.
We have spent a full week working with Malnourished Children’s Outreach with ICM. This program gives rice with soy protein out to families who can’t afford to feed their malnourished kids. We get to go house to house to weigh and measure the height of each kid to see if they are growing and getting the nourishment they need. Most of the families live on 100-150 pesos a day (which is about $2-3).
On one of the first days we went out to measure and weigh, I realized the leader stopped and was talking to a women. I began to walk over, and saw a little girl resting on her hip. As soon as the little girl looked up at me with her sweet little coffee-brown eyes, my heart sunk. I’ve never seen a malnourished kid that bad. The eyes that beamed out of this immaculate child gorged with weariness and probably have seen more struggle in her short lifetime than most ever will. In that same moment of sadness, I was blown away by the fact that God cared enough for this child, had cared enough about ICM, had cared enough about me, to put us all together in that moment, to allow us to give her help and food she needed. God astounds me that He could do this all by His self, but lets me be a small part of it. How blessed are we to even be called servants, to be able to share His kingdom.
Can’t believe today is our last day in India, and we’re headed off to our LAST destination. India has definitely been a roller coaster for me, personally. At first, I went through huge culture shock and definitely “hit a wall” while we spent time in Bangalore. I got very sick and had to go to the hospital, out of precaution, to get IV and fluids in my system. Being homesick on top of being sick in the hospital has been one of the biggest challenges for me on the entire gap year. I feel that after time passes by and looking back at it, that it will be a huge defining moment in my gap year. My time in India has stretched me as far as possible, and made me so uncomfortable but I wouldn’t take it back for anything. God totally broke me down, in order to restore me to be more like Him. I feel so blessed that I have got to experience all the things I have. I got to see one of the seventh wonders of the world AND I’M 18!
Girls orphanage at Gerizim