I live in India among millions of people; more than 25 million in Delhi, where I am based. Often as a single and a woman I feel alone. Separated half-way across the globe from family I love. Yet I am grateful for new “families” and friends in my adopted home for almost 20 years.
Since India remains very patriarchal, coping alone with landlords, travel, government paperwork, shopping, bills, and trying to maintain phone and internet service can be very stressful. Often I have to call for “help” and a male Viva co-worker is the one I rely on the most. Viva is an international organization for children at risk. Though I am associated with a different organization, I do a lot of networking with Viva.
My focus is children – all types of kids, and now all over India, as I do a lot of traveling to train the local, grassroots workers in holistic ministry and best practices for children. Most work with marginalized children – in slums and poor rural areas where the needs are the greatest. I like working directly with kids and have done so in “orphan homes”. Many I knew as toddlers are now reaching their 20s! Some of my boys with AIDS are remaining healthy and learning to live on their own. A girls’ home for special needs is a place I love to visit. It makes me weep to hear them pray for me! When I am not traveling, I help teach at a local slum school nearby. It is exciting to see kids pick-up skills (most go to local overcrowded, government schools, where they spend time without really learning anything).
I went to India for the “Girl Child” after learning about their situation. While increased numbers getting education, there are even higher numbers being exploited through sexual abuse and trafficking. I am involved in trafficking ministry with awareness, counseling, and child protection trainings. Abortion of little girls (as boys are highly valued and girls are unwanted) continues to increase. I am thankful to be involved with a new Christian network coming together to see how we can save the lives of these precious girls.
Over the years I have had many co-workers, who were also dear friends – as they have moved on, out of India, it creates another kind of loneliness. Keeping connected with family and friends is certainly important to keep functioning physically and emotionally; however, growing deeper in my relationship with Jesus, my always Friend and Companion is my anchor and I believe the answer to all of our aloneness.