Arriving in Kolkata on July 29th 2014 was as amazing as it was when I and my mother Geraldine and sister Rachel first visited in 2012.
The noise, horns blowing, children shouting, people talking , laughing, whatever time of day and night… a city that never stands still.
This was the third trip organized by David Jewell of the Mustard Seed Evangelical Church in Callington. There were fourteen of us on the team, about half from Callington and half from the Bristol area, and we visited a number of places in and around Kolkata:
- Our main contact was the Good News Children’s Education mission (www.khushifeet.org.uk) providing food, showers, clothing, schooling for street children at a mobile school and then returning the children home by bus to a family member, usually a single parent.
- Freeset (www.freesetglobal.com/ ) providing work for women who would normally be involved in prostitution.
- Charis Foundation (www.charisindiafoundation.org/) working with families in slum areas. The people make greeting cards in order to earn enough money for schooling.
- A Medical boat providing medical facilities to people in the Islands of the delta region of West Bengal.
- Arunima Hospice providing care for people with Aids.
A visit to a home for underprivileged women and children was very moving. A grandmother there had been sent to Kolkata to live on the streets as her family no longer wanted her.
We were very grateful for the help of a minister from Thakurpukur Baptist Church as he arranged some visits for us. We also visited the school he runs for street children, which we already support since our last visit.
When visiting the local school in a village called Digha the children burst into tears .. they were not used to seeing white people… Aliens or what??
Some of us went on a trip to see the Bengali tigers at Sundabar and we saw one…. a rare sight…
But the highlight for me was working with the street children, and seeing them enjoy life with very little.
I really hope I can return again …