Monday, February 15, 2010

Mumbai 2/10/10

Today was a very productive, and very wonderful day. Andrew and I went over to the Transitions Global Transitional Living Center (TLC) home with Kathy Stout-Labauve, who heads up the after-care program from the IJM headquarters in D.C. I took a lot of shots inside and out of what the house looks like before our construction/cleaning team is done working on it at the end of the week. I also shot interviews with the heads of the TLC and Sister Bonita from Advait, one of the other semi-government girls’ homes.

After the TLC, we moved on to Deonar, which is a government-run girls’ home. When we got there, our landscaping and mural painting teams had already gotten much of their work done. There were girls everywhere, and they were great. We had to have the teachers heard them into one of the buildings so that I could film the work that had been done so far.

It’s for the girls’ safety that we cannot film them. We have to protect their identities. If we are fortunate enough to film at one of the homes, their faces have to be blurred, and names unrevealed.

After I finished filming, the girls came back out, and we all returned to our work. I helped out a bit with the landscaping. It felt good to get my hands dirty for a good cause. Once I was done, I just sat and observed. One of the girls came up to me with a baby (I wasn’t sure of the mother, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t her), and she handed her off to me. Kim, one of the IJM staff who was there with permission to take photos, snapped a series of pictures of me holding the child. The girls loved it. I held her for 5-10 minutes, and then decided to hand to her back off to the girl who gave her to me. As I did, everyone was like, “Oh no!” I looked down, and the baby was urinating. Some of it landed on my leg, some on and in my bag, and the rest on the ground. It was hilarious. The girls were big fans at least. Sure, it sucked, but I couldn’t help but just laugh over the matter with the girls.

Today was much more enjoyable to me than yesterday. I enjoyed spending time with these girls, who are the reason we’re here in the first place. As I sat and observed at Deonar, I began to thank God that these girls were in a safe place, and my heart began to break. Fortunately, a baby was handed to me to distract me before I broke down in front of everyone.

For dinner, our IJM friend, Ashley, took a handful of us to Café Goa, which was a chill restaurant where they do poetry readings, and have karaoke. The food was great, and I really enjoyed just kicking back with new friends.

Good day.

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