Live from New Delhi with World Vision....well, not quite live since jet lag has started to kick in. Hey - did you know India is very far from Seattle???? Just in case you're ever playing bar trivia...I'm here to tell you, it ain't around the corner. So, here is my immediate assessment -- ND is like a parody of the haves vs the have nots. We drove through an area that housed the President, Generals and judges, and there were landscaped streets and office parks. Granted, people were still urinating on the side of the road EVERYWHERE, and defecating, too, but it was somehow civilized. There was an unreal crush of traffic - kamikaze scooter riders, motorized rickshaws and all kinds of cars filled with clown-like capacities. Outside the city, where we were heading with our World Vision entourage, it became clear we weren't in the "good" street side urinating area anymore. Streets became broken and the serious haze that covers everything in the city to begin with (pollution. terrible, really) becomes a layer of tangible dirt. Now, there is no more order as we drive through. It's replaced by the lean-to's and makeshift homes that exist anywhere there is space. It's hard to picture. Loose, sickly dogs are everywhere (jodi, DON NOT touch!) - street cows (sounds like a gang but it's random roaming sacred cows) wander, and now we begin to see the children begging in the street.
When we arrived at the area we were going to visit , and meet the sponsored children that the teachers with us, Laura and Melissa, had chosen, we got out of our van and began to walk. Through the wild maze of the "city" - think concrete slabs with roofs about 7 x 10 to house families of up to 8 or 9 - and there are eyes on us. Peering around the corners to see what the fuss was - it's FOREIGNERS!!! - and people are interested in us. The children smile and practice their English ("hi lady!" ... so cute). It's a rush of emotions... there piles of filth and garbage that these children are playing on... toddlers holding infants....people relieving themselves right outside their doors in the weird little stream of waste that runs carelessly down the street. It's all at once overwhelmingly sad and equally mysterious. The houses are covered with drying clothes and people hanging on the doors because there's nowhere to sit inside. There are SO many children and nowhere for them to play, or even exist, that isn't covered in garbage. So there they are -- no shoes, no pants, no toys....smiling at us and waving. I am amazed being here.
More to come.... Photo Gallery HERE