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Journals From India pt. 3

Toilet Recipients

Toilet Recipients

I know I promised to keep you updated, but we have been working so hard that each night, we would “drop” the minute we got back to the inn. Yet, it has been so rewarding! Every time I come, the people understand more and more that we will not forsake them…and they grow in both self confidence and communal awareness. They are learning by example how to care for one another, and shedding a learned beggarly mentality for zeal, voluntarily joining in work projects for upliftment of the entire colony ….seeing purpose for living, moving ¬†beyond the cruelty of “untouchability.”

Aliyendal School

Aliyendal School

When I return, I will have many pictures posted so check back in a week! We refurbished 2 schools for the poor in Aliyandal and Kanji, repairing, patching or applying a temporary “fix”, painting etc., installed 3 bathrooms in one school and provided the materials and payment for a plumber to install toilets in the other; the 13 students from University of Texas presented the drawings for the college prep school to the Educational Committee of Kanji for approval — they call it the “quality” school — and officials were so excited they want to start the school THIS June. Of course, no way to do– we have to conduct a capital campaign to raise the $200,000 in building funds needed — but it just shows how far we have come from the officials being ambivalent towards the Dalits to actually being excited about their potential for progress. It’s truly amazing! They are being seen in a different light. I honestly think it has a lot to do with seeing minority leadership spearheading these very projects. They always assume anyone else on my team is the leader, until I open my mouth and start giving directions. They are shocked and wonder how this is possible as they realize (from global news) that am considered a minority without honor in my own country (laugh). How do you change (his)tory? By writing your own story! Each one of us can be an agent for change no matter how “small” we think we are, or how insignificant we think our contribution is in the whole scheme of things.

Curing Toilet

A finished and curing toilet.

We now have actually secured deeds in the names of the educational trusts for the first 6 acres which will house the school on 5 and the orphanage on a separate 1 acre parcel. This ensures that these properties can never be taken away from us or their usage changed…trusts in India (unlike non-profit societies) are non-revocable. We drafted the memorandum of understanding regarding regarding curriculum, affirmative action guidelines for Dalits and the poor and other assurances necessary before any construction can begin. So, I feel confident moving forward. We have renderings and the master plan done for the project, the architectural master’s students walked the land, took soil samples and made plan revisions.
House offered by Dr. Komar

House offered by Dr. Komar

Global Watche Trust, a home for 30+ orphans built a library and requested that we provide books for it and I visited Dr. Kumar ‘s home and many projects in Madurai. What an inspiration! He is Chancellor of Tamil University International (USA campus) and lives in my home town in Maryland 6 months of the year. We discussed the problem of sex and slave trafficking in India and lack of respect for girls and women in general. He offered me a beautiful 7 bedroom, 6 bath house to begin some awareness and helps program in Madurai. Unfortunately, it is 7 hours from our current project commitments; but I’m grooming Amma Deepamma, the first Tamili samaneri to train many future nuns to plant ministries throughout the region. So, we’ll see what happens.





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