Friday, March 20, 2009
Today we made our way to the children of lepers home on the outskirts of Chennai. This amazing place is home to 34 children whose parents live in various leper colonies in
the region. We were shocked to hear that in the state of Tamil Nadu alone there are 54 leper colonies. If these kids stay in the leper colony they have no hope for a life outside the colony. They will end up begging as a way of life just like their parents. By coming out of the colony & living in this childrens' home they are able to break the cycle of poverty and hopelessness. One boy that lives in the home used to be tied up to a tree like a dog while his parents went out to beg each day. Today we saw the results of the love & care he is getting in this amazing home. He is thriving. All the kids go to an excellent school, and the end result the staff desire is to see each child do something significant in life. We ended our time with them by playing a round of duck-duck-goose and providing a special meal for the kids. It was great!!
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/20/2009 08:57:00 AM
The weekly medical clinic in the slum is the only health care many of the people there will receive. Men & women line up to see the nurse each Thursday evening. The R&R staff provide the weekly clinic in addition to the other ways they help in this place. As Streams of Mercy staff we feel so privileged to work along side an organization like R&R. They are doing an amazing work among the people of the slum. We're glad we can come along side them and help raise funds for the medicines & supplies they need each week which they use to treat things like wounds, fevers, infections and other health problems. The cost of operating the clinic is only around $100 a month.
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/20/2009 08:35:00 AM
Thursday, March 19, 2009
One of our team members, Donna, met a lovely lady who lives right next to the preschool. She has 2 small daughters who attend the preschool, and a little baby who is 15 months old. Her little baby sleeps in a fabric cocoon hanging from her hut ceiling. It's good she has this net type bed for her baby, since recently she found a cobra in her own bed on the floor. She told Donna that both of her little girls have already been abused. It is so hard to grasp how much victimization goes on in the slum. It is heartbreaking to see the reality of these precious peoples' lives. We're amazed by the difference that Freddy & Daisy are making amongst their own people and it is a joy to help them in their work.
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/19/2009 04:19:00 AM
We were quite a spectacle as we walked down the dusty road through the automobile parts market on our way to the Hut slum, home to over 6,000 people who live in utter poverty. The people were rounded up from the streets of Chennai by the authorities and relocated to a run down zoo area. They live in tiny rented thatched huts littered with tons of garbage. We turned down the dirt path through the hut slum, and headed for the one room preschool directed by our dear friend Daisy. Her heart broke for the children of that slum, victims of rape and every kind of abuse during the day, so she came up with an answer – to start a preschool for kids right in the heart of the slum.
The preschool cares for 18 children each day. This wonderful program prepares them for school and protects them from the predators that abound in the slum. At the preschool the R&R staff teach the kids, feed them a hot meal and extend love and kindness to each one. For many of these little kids it is the only meal they will get today.
Check back later today for a report on the Medical Clinic in this slum - part 2 of day 1 in Chennai…
What an amazing journey!
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/19/2009 04:06:00 AM
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
From Asha home we drove to the GS home in Lonavala, where many of the little ones eventually will transition to. GS Home is home to 130 kids and has been in operation for 12 years. Today we met some terrific kids and saw the results of years of being in a loving, stable, family environment. One of the first kids to come to GSH 12 years ago is now a nurse. Many of the older girls will go on to get University training. The stark contrast of where they came from (a life of abuse, abandonment and hunger on the streets) to where they are now is overwhelming. A few of the older girls shared their stories of living on the streets as young children and how they never dreamed back then that they would have a life like they do now. They expressed how grateful they are for being chosen.
In the grand finale they shared some hip hop choreographed dances.
The staff of GS Home have a dream to build family-style homes on a property they own in the country that will allow them to house 400 kids. We want to see this dream become a reality! All that is needed is the funding to build.
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/17/2009 11:24:00 AM
A little after noon we walked in a tiny apartment where 9 sets of big brown smiling eyes peered up at us. The Asha home (house of hope) is the first step toward transitioning little ones from living on the streets to eventually landing in a permanent childrens' home. The amazing staff, the joy in the kids faces and the peaceful atmosphere were impressive.
At Asha home the kids get prepared to enter school, and learn to live in a more structured setting. They learn English, work on their fine motor skills, and receive love and encouragement that they so desperately need. We were able to bring the kids some notebooks & pencils that were donated by the members of Christ's Center Church in Oregon. The kids faces just lit up like it was Christmas day when they got their own special pack. Thank you, Christ's Center for your donation. The kids loved each gift!
The lollipops from Donna were a huge hit too. The pictures speak louder than words. What a precious time!! Wish you could be here with us to see how these tender-hearted children have hope for their future now. There wasn't a dry eye among us.
Check back for Tuesday part 2 - in the hills of Lonavala
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/17/2009 11:01:00 AM
One of the dreams of Comforter team is to teach trades to young people in the red light district so they can have an alternate way of earning a living. One of the team members is very gifted in the Indian art of Mehndi. Henna (natural dye) is applied to the skin and worn for special events like a wedding or party. We've gotten some ooohs and aaahhhs over our Mendhi today!
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/17/2009 10:51:00 AM
From the red light district we drove to the Comforter Childrens home, which is home to 27 kids (some are HIV+ and some are not). Dr. Ed is the director of both the project in the red light district & the Comforter home. She's not just taking in kids who have no one else & giving them shelter, but she is loving them like a mother would love her own children. On valentines day she received an amazing gift. Early in the morning on Feb. 14th the door bell rang at the home. When she went to the gate, there was a precious little treasure standing there...a tiny malnourished 4 year old boy with only a note attached saying "I am HIV+ and I have no one". Since her valentines boy arrived a month ago he has gained weight and is beginning to thrive (above is Dr. Ed and her valentine). While we were with her Dr. Ed gave us a tour of a building in front of the Comforter home that they hope to rent one day soon. If they are able to get it, they would have space for 30 more kids. They only need approx. $4500 to renovate & furnish the building, and about $700 monthly for operating expenses. Streams of Mercy is privileged to come along side this amazing & courageous woman as she extends love & hope to some precious little ones.
Check back soon for Tuesday in Pune!
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/17/2009 09:56:00 AM
Monday, March 16, 2009
Shocking doesn't even come close to describing the red light district of Pune, India. In this tiny neighborhood there are about 6,000 prositutes. In the entire city there are an estimated 200,000. We wondered how do these young men & women get trapped in this terrible lifestyle. It was disturbing to hear that often times a father or brother will sell these young people into this life. Once they are sold, they are trapped until they pay off the amount paid to their family by the pimp. This takes years & years. In the midst of this incredibly horrible situation, there is a small team of people who are living in that area to bring hope to them. The team does HIV prevention education, & they do all they can to prevent new young people from coming in to this lifestyle. They also offer a safe house for children of prostitutes. Without the "creche" (children of prostitutes safe house) these tiny children are often drugged or given alcohol each night to render them unconscious during their mother's working hours. The creche gives them a way to escape the horrors of this, at least for a few hours each day. When we visited the creche, the kids were praying together & singing, and we saw the crafts they had made. Even though most of the children of prostitutes will themselves become prostitutes, this team is bringing the answers to break the cycle.
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/16/2009 10:42:00 PM
Sunday, March 15, 2009
We began our time at the Rescue & Restore house with the kids singing and sharing about their lives. One of the highlights was the amazing energetic Indian dances the kids did for us. One of the older girls choreographed the dances, and we got a taste of the beautiful culture of India.
Posted by Bruce & Patty Bauman at 3/15/2009 11:52:00 PM