In America, you say, "The world is my oyster." In India, the saying becomes, "the world is my urinal (and add to that "my garbage can")." But I must say, it has not been as bad as expected. There are no more open sewers on the streets but that doesn't stop men from obeying on the spot when nature calls. I have not witnessed the more refined and civilized species (ahem!) doing the same. I guess some things never change.
In India, even the innermost city is still reminiscent of country life. Cows truly are everywhere! On a bustling city street they are standing on the median, or sleeping like puppies on the street with their legs curled under them.
As you may know, cows are off limits as a food source in India. Fortunately for us protein eaters, chickens and fish are still on the menu. When you go into McDonalds, you have a choice of chicken Big Macs or fish burgers.
We got to visit a slum today and even to meet the "slum president." I don't know if it's a compliment to be a slum president or not, but this man was really cute and seemed to enjoy his title. He was the only plump person in the whole slum, and I'm sure the kids wished he'd share a bit more of his food. The best part was that he told us he is very thankful for Hopegivers Ministry because they give a lot of aid to his slum. He said that other well-known ministries give money but the "middle men" take it for themselves and the slum people never see it. He was also thankful that Hopegivers is trying to start a school for their community kids.
The slum kids were SO adorable. They looked quite happy and they asked me my name over and over and practiced it with me. They love getting their picture taken and I was completely swarmed by them, both to take their pictures and then for them to see it on my camera screen.
Later in the day, I got to interview a dignitary of sorts. He is the very head of the Leprosy Foundation of India and we spoke for about 30 minutes about how much improved the leprosy situation is in India. Unfortunately by then, my head was about to explode with sensory overload, trying to understand thick accents all day, new information, and fatigue. I think he was secretly impressed when I asked him thought-provoking, intelligent questions such as, "Where is the bathroom?" Hey, I was toast, okay?
One common theme here: Hopegivers ministry is so well-respected. Everywhere I go, people are so thankful for what HG has done for them or for this amazing country.