World Vision - India
Yesterday (Thursday) was the first day at my internship. Each Thursday I will take a bus and spend 6 hours or so working at World Vision India. Sounds exciting right?! Well the first week was completely the opposite and I seriously doubted whether or not this internship would be meaningful for myself or for them. I got there and was seated on a couch and given a large stack of books and documents. The executive then told me to read through all of them and ask him should I have any questions. Once I finished those he gave me more and that pattern continued…for 5 hours. It was incredibly informative but also really boring. I mean the office was literally in the middle of the slums and there was nothing else he wanted me to do but read??
Then, later in the evening our group got together to debrief our experiences. When it got to be my turn to share the most challenging part of my day, I was brought to tears about an experience I had seconds before my internship. As I was walking up the stairs to the office I saw a woman scavenging through the garbage maybe for food or something. Not too out of the ordinary for the slums and to be honest it didn’t really effect me that much…or so I thought.
When lunchtime came I could not get this woman out of my head. Here I was, seated around a table with several World Vision staff members eating plenty of food, while a woman remained outside. Still digging. Still searching. And maybe we had what she needed just several feet away.
But the thought left my head as quickly as it came and I went back to reading and carried throughout the rest of my day without any huge convictions…until debrief time. My heart just broke right open and I was filled with a huge quandary about these two drastically different lifestyles I was encountering. There outside was the poorest of the poor and inside were the people aiming to meet some of their basic needs. Once I saw this woman for who she was, my mind just ran with all sorts of ways to help her and those like her. I was faced with all sorts of questions like, “Why are there even slums where an organization has been planted for many years?” and “Are there simple things that could be done that would change the atmosphere of the slums like a community garden or a play ground for the kids?” “Would something like that bring the slum community together not because everyone there is poor, but because they have kids or like to garden?” “Is it possible to give the slum communities names other than slums?” “Would something like that help to create a new identity for those living there?” etc.
I realize that I am new to this process and don't want to discredit the work being done, but as a newcomer to this environment, I could help but dream out of the box.
And as I shared my experience, tears began to fall from my eyes. As a fairly, non-emotional person, this surprised me and after I finished sharing I thought to myself, “What was that all about? Where did those tears even come from?”
Then most beautiful thing was whispered to me. God gently responded, “It’s your heart. It’s starting to look more like mine. This is what happens when you see people the way I see people.”
Praise Jesus for painful but meaningful transformation.