Sunday, October 28, 2012

Highs & Lows

Time in the slum community is filled with highs and lows. As promised, I'm sharing a recent triumph and challenge. 

Thursday afternoon was my second meeting with the girls of Vinay Mandhir. There were 5 girls who participated in the afternoon activity which ended up becoming a conversation on what they wanted me to teach. We discussed a range of choices from health and hygiene to life skills- they ended up confessing that while they can read English, they have a hard time with the comprehension and translating it back to Gujarati. So, we decided I would bring an English book and help them understand what it means in Gujarati (this will be a good challenge for me too!). Anyways, I left feeling very encouraged and walked through the slum community to the community farm to help plant some seeds. 

My walk from the hostel to the community center is about 15 minutes and I walk passed the same families each time I go. This afternoon, one of the women along the path asked me to sit down with her. Initially, I told her I had to go somewhere to do some work. She replied by reminding me that I will always have something to do and that I should just take a moment to sit down. I agreed and sat with her. She reminded me she had met me a week back at a different event. We spoke about her family and daily life for a few minutes. Then, out of nowhere, I heard a smack and a cry of pain. I looked behind me to my left and there was a girl about 15 years old sitting outside her home. Her face was buried in her hands and she was crying. Her mom then came out and hit her again- the crying continued and the auntie I was sitting with told the other auntie to stop. I tried to ask why she was hitting her daughter and she replied it was because she wasn't cleaning the home. I froze in a mix of shock, fury, and shyness. I didn't know what to do and ended up leaving the situation soon after. Leaving felt shameful, but the situation was beyond me and I felt unprepared to confront the violence. 

That span of forty minutes had such a wide range of emotions, I was left at an odd neutral point. 

I feel fortunate for being able to spend whatever time I can in the community and share as many smiles as I have, but I was quickly reminded of how harsh of a reality the community lives and how many hardships there are.

1 comment:

  1. Wow - what an experience! I can't even imagine what it would feel like to see that kind of abuse and realizing that it was just normal/standard living for that family. Glad you had some happy moments and hope the English training will be fun. I do love how the woman reminded you that you "will halways have something to do and that (you) should just take a moment to sit down". Such a good way to practice "living in the moment" and what an experience you gained from that sitting! Thanks for sharing Ami!