Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sharing Time

A couple of days ago Danielle and I went to a club for kids who live in the slum surrounding the local railway station. The club is run by the Taize Brothers. It was our second visit to the club. In the late afternoon , the kids play games, sing songs, and have a snack. Our family is a real hit. The kids hang all over us and pull us in every direction to be a part of what they are doing. Danielle is a particular attraction. All the girls swarm around her and want to touch her hair. She has been very patient with it all and just wants to hold the little babies who come with their older sisters.

There are 45 kids in the club and only 7 of them attend some form of school. Most of them collect plastic, tin and paper that they can sell for a few pennies. At the club they had some sharing time. It was an eye-opener for us and I wanted to share what we heard with you. Three boys about 9 to 11 years old were asked to talk about their day. The first boy said he got up, washed his face and went to the market to beg. He got three little fish and 5 taka (about 10 cents). He did not eat lunch. The second boy said he got up, washed his face, and went to the market to sell a few vegetables. He made 30 taka from that and gave it to his parents. He did not have lunch. The third boy also got up, washed his face and a man asked him to help move boxes. He spent the morning moving boxes with a friend. At the end of the job the man paid the other boy but not him. He argued and cried that he had done the same work but the man refused to pay. He did not have lunch.

This is the daily life of these children. It is so far removed from our own that we don’t even know where to begin in response. We are thankful for the commitment and compassion of the Taize Brothers. By encouraging and supporting them in small ways, we are blessed by the big things they are doing in these children’s lives.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Canadian Kite Flyer

Here is a story (in several parts) that illustrates the place we are in, Danielle’s perseverance and the adventures we have daily.

There are kids everywhere flying little paper kites. Some kids fight their kites and various trees and power lines are littered with kites

Danielle wanted to fly a kite like the other kids. I thought the kids were making their kites so we started by making a kite with a plastic bag and twigs and found some light string we wrapped around a piece of bamboo.

There was not a lot of wind but these are all very light kites and we were off to a local open lot. To get to the lot you walk out our dirt courtyard, down a small road with shops and jump over an odorous open sewer. The whole walk you are greeted by people asking your name and country. The lot is surrounded by brick walls and the people who have houses on the other side just dump their garbage on the lot. That day there was a man weaving a rattan mat on the lot and some older kids playing soccer.

Danielle would get the kite going but it kept coming back to earth. To try and get it up she was running in and amongst the piles of garbage and the soccer game but kept running out of room.

One man took the kite when it fell and tried to fix it. He looked at another boy’s for ideas. Finally he just ripped the string off the other boy’s kite and ties the kite to Danielle’s string. Some older boys try to help get it going but Danielle can’t manage to keep it in the air. Another man says she needs a bigger kite and sends a boy off to get one. We still can’t get that one going.

Some other kites were fighting nearby and one kite broke free so all the kids ran after it. The recovered kite finally came back to Danielle – we now have three kites. I try to give one or two back but they won’t accept them. Finally I manage to get the small kite back to the first boy who lost his. We now have two kites, some string and the story continues.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Please Raise Your Hand ...

This poll is for all adult males reading this blog.

Please raise your hand if you have ever had your armpits shaved by a barber using a straight-blade.

Perhaps it only happens in Bangladesh.

Today in town we saw a man sitting in a barber's chair about to have his armpit shaved. There are barbers everywhere you look along the street in town. They set up a chair in what we would consider the most unlikely of places. The man we saw was sitting on a chair in an open yard along the side of the road.

I almost fell out of the rickshaw we were riding in as I twisted around to try and verify what I had just seen. Then I nearly fell out from laughing so hard!

Sorry, I didn't have my camera with me today.