Saturday, January 31, 2009

chennai 09 - day 3

Reposted from the Grassroots India Blog

Hi all,

Sitting in the hotel after a loooong but fulfilling day working with Kevin in and around the church in the slum.

This morning Hugo and Phil left for meetings in Hydrabad that they will no doubt update the blog on later. Kevin, rachel and Stuart went out early-ish to film in the slum area called 'Riverside'. Its on the inside of a bend in the river and consequently surrounded by sewage on 3 sides. Several thousand people live in that area and the slum additionally extends 1000m along the river in each direction. Kevin spoke to rachel about life in the slums and some of the issues and he was filmed doing so.

Later the teams joined together again at the church and accompanied Kevin for a trip over the river (crossing very much in the centre of the famous 'poo bridge' for a prayer walk around the snake, demon and alcohol infused slum on the other bank. Many issues were prayed for with some evidence of spiritual activity as a result.

The whole team were much alarmed by the amount of alcohol related issues we uncovered. So mnay of the wives receiev regular, apparently daily beatings from their husbands who come home late from working in the fish market having spent their free time and most of the families income on spirits from either the government owned off-licences or the gansgter managed illegal stills in the slums.

Of all the peoiple we prayed for we met only 3 sober husbands. It seemed the slums would be such a different place if the men were fulfilling their role as Dads and spouses but lack of hope, poor ediucation and strong peer pressure seems to often to result in desperate addcitons. The life expectancy of men is much less than that of the women due to the fact so many of them drink virtually from late teenages until... well, death.

We all felt moved and disturbed by this and a bit helpless so will probably be hearing more about how Kevin feels on the issue.

After lunch (this time on plates) we spent the next 4 hours interviewing, weighing, measuring, eyetesting, photographing and praying for the 100 children in Kevin's club. Hard work that gradually accelarated to a fevered (but still extremely accurate) pace as the light began to fail. We have 6 more to finish and as I type this at one end of the table Rachel and Catherine are copying up the interview forms into a PC at the other end.


(Rachel wishes to point out that her fingers are on a PC but her heart in a the Mac)

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