October 21, 2010
Yesterday we had a meeting with Suresh and Christina, our Indian partners who are rescuing ladies out of the Red Light areas from villages in Andhra Pradesh. They are incredible people — full of faith and love and a good sense of humor, and we are trying to help them by training the ladies they rescue to sew in IPP sewing centers. We have one already established with them, Ashraya, which means hope and dignity and houses 25 ladies. In the past few months, they have begun rescuing ladies in another region called Peddapuram, and Kelsea and I have come to work with them. I am mostly here to learn — Kelsea has trained many women with similar stories how to sew and work on a team. I want to learn as much as I can from her. I am also here to work with fabric scouting and help find shipping solutions.
When we began the meeting, we were sitting out on an enclosed porch at Suresh and Christina’s home. A downpour had just washed the courtyard clean. We ran through it to get to the house, and the water was warm. A rooster paraded around the courtyard. He kept crowing, so Suresh and Christina told us to come inside, and when they said inside, they meant into their bedroom. “Sit, sit,” the told us, motioning toward the bed, and Kelsea, John, and I sat Indian style in the middle of it. Suresh and Christina pulled up chairs at the foot of the bed.
I love these kinds of business meetings.
Joethe, one of Suresh and Christina’s foster children, came in partway through with a tray of chai in small cups. After the meeting, we just sat and talked for a while. Kelsea asked about different words and conjugations in Telugu. We laughed about the differences between how Suresh and Christina speak the language. Most of the words end in an “o” or “a” sound, and it is a beautiful, soft language, but Suresh speaks more shortly, and Christina is more sing-songy. She smiled and said, “I am being polite.” We talked about their children, the youngest of which is a goofy little three-year-old who bounces everywhere instead of walking. “She is naughty,” Christina said. “She is terrorist in the home.” She has ankle bracelets with bells on them, and you can hear her bouncing long before she enters a room.
Today we will buy saris for the ladies at the center. I was here last one year ago, and the improvements these ladies have made in the quality is astounding. It is due to Kelsea’s work, and I am thrilled to learn from her this week.
Before we work, we will celebrate. The ladies deserve it.
October 19, 2010
I take a lot less for granted now because I have seen so much. In my journals, I started off writing nonsense — the silly nothings that sweep through a young girl’s mind. And then, after India that nothing started to become something. It was strange how I could be filled with so much pain and so much gratefulness at the same time.
It is painful to think about why I was spared from a different life, painful to think of all the good people who went before me, setting me up into a position of freedom and, even, a little authority. My grandpas fought in a couple of wars. My grandmothers cast their ballots in the first votes. My parents never treated me as if my life should be less adventurous than my brother’s because I’m a girl. My family has filled our circle with so much love. It fills up, and it overflows. They are good people. The best people. It staggers me to think about why I was given so much love when so many people have none. I just don’t know why that is. It hurts. My eyes sting as I write this.
It hurts because it means there is a requirement, a pressure for change and sacrificing complacency. There is the obligation to speak up, and the knowledge that I am bound to this cause, until slavery is gone or Christ returns. Every decision that I make going forward rotates around the knowledge that my life will never be my own again, though it really never was.