I flicked through my camera roll, searching for pictures of my kids. I miss them. Internet over here is sporadic and only available in the hotel where we are staying so I haven’t had much contact with them. I did manage to Skype my girls the other night, briefly until the internet cut out.
My eldest, she’s 11, said, “Mum, I really miss you. I really, really miss you.’
“I miss you too precious girl. Are you okay?”
“Yes, but I just miss you.”
“Honey, I need you to stay strong so I can finish this. So I can tell people about the need, the children. We are a team, and this is your part to play.”
I saw her nod. Still, pain shot through me at the edge of sadness in her eyes.
I miss my husband too. So much. I miss the hugs the most. I miss his steady and comforting presence. I miss him making me laugh.
Yesterday, we went to visit rural organic farms. I’m looking forward to writing a post about it because it was a beautiful, positive day. On the way back to the hotel, I said to Eden, who was sitting next to me in the car, “I want to go home.”
“Home, home?” she asked.
I was having a weak moment. Driving in India is like nothing I’ve experienced, and I’m not joking when I say we’ve experienced thousands of, what I would call, near miss collisions. Thousands. The roads are bumpy and the hours spent in the car are exhausting, as my body is jolted this way and that.
You see, I’m over here in India, and it’s strange. It’s strange to be so far away from my life, my family. There are many times, like that moment in the car, when I wonder what I’m doing. If what I’m doing is enough. If I’m doing it right. I worry about being away from my family for so long.
I’m sure some may wonder why World Vision would invest in sending a team of bloggers over to India. I’ve thought about this myself because I need to feel confident about what I’m doing.
The thing is, the majority of World Vision’s work is sponsored through donations, from people like you and me, and they need to fundraise to generate this money so they can continue the work. They need to tell people of the need, and of the work they do, and this is one way to do it, and I feel burdened and privileged to be entrusted with such a message. If you’re interested to know where the funds go, it’s all transparent on the website.
In the car – when I desperately wanted to go home — I recalled the first meeting I had with World Vision many months ago, when one of the staff talked to us about the evolution of World Vision project models over the years. Not riveting stuff, but still important to know. And then, in the middle of it, seemingly out of the blue, this large man started to cry. You could feel the shock in the room. He was talking about the period of time when there was a recession in Australia, I think in the 1980’s, and many Australians had to tighten their belt; often giving is the first to go.
When he could speak again, he said, “I had to come into work every day.” He paused, trying to hold his voice steady, and then he continued, “And decide which projects to cut.” Over 20 years passed since this time, and to see him so visibly shaken is something I’ll never forget.
I can appreciate, more fully, what he meant now. When I see the need of these people, the incredible passion and joy of the World Vision staff in each area, and the light in the people’s eyes when they tell of how much World Vision has done for them; I can see why he cried.
Imagine if I had to tell Lajja, living in the rag picking slums that her friends from World Vision would not come anymore. To teach her. To support her. To help her give a better life for her children. Imagine if I told the vibrant child journalists their meeting place was to be gone, and potentially their voice too.
I come back to why I’m here doing this. I come back to missing my kids and wanting so bad to be back home again. While I would love, love to see hundreds of child sponsorships come from this experience, or for Christmastime, countless presents given through World Vision gifts…this is not a post asking for support. This is a post of how I feel, what I see, and what I know. It’s like a puzzle, piecing together things past with things present; things felt with things seen; what I know and what I’ve learned. It’s a post about awareness, and how there is always sacrifice involved in doing something worthwhile. Always. Giving, costs. Yet, giving gives back. I know I will live a richer, more grateful life because of this experience.
I’ll end this post with a rose, complete with styrofoam balls. This rose was given to me by a young organic farmer, who was visibly very nervous. To be honest, this rose is something I would throw out at home. It really has no monetary value. And yet, to me, it’s incredibly precious and something I will keep for always, because of how it was given. It was given to honour, and it reminded me, that it’s not what we give that matters so much, whether that be time, or money, or prayers, or support, but it’s the attitude behind how we give.