About one month ago, I crept downstairs from my bed around 1:00am. I was tossing and turning, consumed by an on-going discussion that my husband Adam and I had been having. The Freedom Festival 2010 was on our minds. We are founders and co-chairs of this event that benefits The Emancipation Network. And almost every e-mail and text we sent each other, almost every after dinner clean-up conversation, and almost every late night chat involved the Freedom Festival. As the weeks crept closer to our mid-August event date, we were ironing out and coordinati1 comment
thoughts going threw my head. The home we have been at this week is truly like no other. There are 76 girls, 1boy and amazing staff. The home radiates love and joy. The ages start at about three and continue upward. The expressions on the faces are almost always happy. You know when you walk in this is truly a home not just a place that they live. The children talk, smile and play all the time.
When we arrive the girls run to the car to meet us. They are yelling "auntie,auntie" their smiles are so big they consume their faces.no comment
Today the heat and lack of sleep got to me when I broke some blisters on my hands while gardening today. I was so frustrated because we had only just begun and I was eager to literally get my hands dirty doing something for the girls, and I knew I was finished. I had no gloves and had to wash out the blisters and splinters with alchol wipes which hurt like heck.1 comment
It’s been a full week since I’ve been back in India and it’s been a whirlwind of emotions and memories. I’ve seen familiar faces that I’ve missed dearly and it feels good to be back in the company of such amazing people. On my first day back at the jewelry program the girls threw me a surprise welcome back party with balloons, confetti, streamers and candy! I was also treated to several performances of dance and song and was eventually pulled into the fun and danced along with them. It was one of the best days of my entire life and one I will remember and think about often for as long as I live. It made me realize how much of an impact someone can have on another persons life, even in a small amount of time. They have become a second family for me and it’s a relationship I will cherish forever.1 comment
We have been here in India for three full days. I have heard, learned and seen things that have broke my heart and that have inspired me. We have met children and women that have overcome things that would likely destroy others. The strength in these women and children is like no other. They are truly survivors.
Today we met the women and children at Nigoloy. We were greeted with flowers and welcomed into their home with smiles and a warmth that is difficult for me to express with words. We were wrapped in love the entire time we were there. Today we had enough time to meet them, have a tour and dance. The children are amazing dancers! (Our dancing was not so amazing, but our lack of grace was overshadowed by the spirit we put into it.)
The blockprinting they do is beautiful and I can’t wait to stock up on sari’s! Our day was full of smiles and laughter. Tomorrow we will start some projects at Nigoloy and I can’t wait to get back! When we drove away from them today I was in awe of the amount and love and joy they have within them and share so freely. (I also realized that my face hurt from smiling so much.)
This day was a beautiful affirmation of why we do what we do. My heart is full and my hands are ready to get to work!no comment
After waiting a bit at one shelter for a driver (who we never saw due to traffick), witnessing a women get hit by a car (she walked away, no worries), and downing half my water in the over 100 degree heat (gotta love humidity), we got some directions and headed out to Nijoloy, the other shelter that we are volunteering at. Looking out at the passing city I felt as though Kolkata is a city in transformation and probably has been and will be for years. We past numerous unfunished buildings, some were be lived in or worked in.
Its different to see dogs and cows walking the streets like they are humans going about their daily business. No one bats an eye, so neither do I. Riding in a car here is like being on a roller coaster, "please keep arms and hands in the car at all time until we come to a complete stop". But after playing chicken with numerous cars, again…you got to go with it, embrace the experience and hold on!no comment
So I’ll gladly take this opportunity as a chance to proudly promote a very special upcoming event. Saturday, August 14th will be the 2nd annual Freedom Festival to benefit The Emancipation Network. If you are anywhere in the area stop by Heritage Museums and Gardens, at 62 Grove Street in Sandwich, Massachusetts. We have a full lineup of artists planned to start at 3:00 and end at 10:30. Tickets are $25 and children under fourteen are free! All proceeds will go to TEN in an effort to reach more survivors, more women and children at risk of trafficking, and assino comment
I was on Rosie Radio with Rosie O'Donnell, and not only did I have a great time, but Rosie's listeners really came through and supported Made By Survivors! So a big thanks to Rosie, her senior producer Deirdre and the entire crew. If you missed the show – we put the interview to pictures and you can hear/watch it here:2 comments