by Shari Levitin
Shari Levitin is a longtime Christel House supporter who recently fulfilled a dream of visiting a Christel House learning center. She traveled to Christel House India in December, and she wrote about her experience for us!
My excitement to come to India was tempered by my anxiety at seeing the
hopeless poverty. I was warned-- No matter how much a foreigner mentally
prepares, it’s painful to experience. The Christel House was our first
stop upon arriving in the bustling city of Bangalore: a safe haven for
children from the slums. A place where kids from the poorest of families
from the most impoverish conditions imaginable come to school.
at my badge, Ma’am” says a wide-eyed little boy. “Look what I won
today.” Swarms of children gather round us, chests out, heads held high.
They had just completed a sports competition. My traveling companion,
Lee, and I award the victorious in a grand ceremony. The pride, self
esteem and feeling of accomplishment felt by this little boy permeates
throughout Christel House.
I meet a young girl who shows me her
drawings. “Look what we’ve done here, Ma’am.” I see a room filled with
beautiful artwork: Colorful scenes of joy, fruit trees, animals. She
presents a life size mural on the wall that the older kids drew. No
hopelessness in sight. I meet a young man, the in-house videographer.
He, too, is proud. He runs his own department.
Later, we meet a
confident young women. She has been a student at Christel House for
eight years. She is studying science. “I am going to University, then I
am coming to America. I will visit you there, Ma’am.”
We try to leave. But the children hang on. “Look here.” “Look what I’ve done.” “See where I’m going?” “Will you stay, Ma’am? “
As I write this, I am flying over Mumbai looking at the miles of slums.
The shacks, the dearth. I no longer feel a sense of hopelessness. One
person can make a difference.
I might say to Christel Dehaan, “Look what you’ve done, Ma’am.”
Labels: Christel House India, India