Family Visit28 Nov 2008, by Uncategorized in
November 13, 2008
Well after a year of living in Kolkata, my family has finally come to visit. My mother, two aunts, and two friends arrived last week in Delhi. We toured Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, Udaipur and Mumbai for ten days, then flew to Kolkata. After ten days of what I call the "American Princess Tour," we’re finally back in my comfort zone of Kolkata.
Our tour includes visiting the shelter homes where TEN purchases handicrafts, as well as the community centers where the sponsored children attend after-school activities. My two aunts are both school sponsors of children, so we went to visit them. Seeing my aunts sit with their "daughters" and read with them was so inspiring. One of the girls is a teenager now and is attending open school to get her 10th grade certificate. She wants to become either a lawyer or a teacher, and has inspired her mother to come to the community center for non-formal education. So Aunt Barbara’s sponsorship not only benefits the teenager, but the mother and entire family as well.
Aunt Karen sponsors a darling little girl in the red light district, who is the eldest girl in her family and thus carries much of the household responsibilities on her shoulders. But with education, she has dreams to become an English teacher and was eager to read with Aunt Karen. Her eyes lit up every time she pronounced a word correctly, hearing my aunt’s encouraging voice saying "that’s right! great work!" It may be the first time she’s heard those words from someone other than her teachers.
Overall, the women loved the trip, and agreed that each experience was invaluable and memorable. However, the poverty and pollution were overwhelming, as it is to anyone who visits a developing country for the first time. They felt helpless seeing the small children begging on the street, but I explained that any money those children gets would go to the traffickers and racketeers. So instead, we bought some bananas and broke them in half for the kids (even if we gave whole bananas the traffickers would sell them). It’s a sad situation, but really the best way to help is to work with NGOs that provide assistance, such as TEN’s school sponsorship program.
The women at Destiny were so thrilled to meet my family, which reminded me that they have never had a loving family. They all hugged my mother and said, "Becky is our older sister, so now you’re our mother too!"