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Impact India 360
A taste of India

If a picture is worth a thousand words but its impossible to capture the real essence of India in a picture, how can I describe it? This is the quandary that I’m left with after venturing outside of the walls of the CEM campus as we visited the market this morning.

Our trip was relatively brief in comparison to the rest of our day with the children here on campus but during the hour tour just a couple of blocks down the road I was overwhelmed sensory overload from all of the contrasts between my life back home and landscape in front of me. Right outside the gates we are greeted by a cute little puppy tied up next to a raunchy pile of trash. A couple of yards down the road we turn the corner near a old Hindu temple amongst another pile of trash and rubble that to my amazement was the sight of a wedding witnessed by earlier Kensington teams. Now to a typical American its easy to write off India as a dirty 3rd world country that will always be what it is, much in the same way that people view Detroit, MI. However, if you take the time to look deeper, there truly are diamonds in the rough.

Down the street from the temple we pass the original site of CEM and I begin to the see the development of hope in the community. We turn another corner and life begins to emerge. People are coming out of their homes to see us, each with big smiles and bright eyes. This is India.

As we get closer to the market, the traffic on the streets becomes heavier with bikes and scooters buzzing around us with their horns buzzing and bells ringing in both directions. Sometimes its hard to judge which side of the street to stay on as people race around you from both sides. Though some bikers had to slow or stop before trying to get around us, it amazes me that no one seems to get upset or angry. Its just a part of life, an obstacle that is beyond their control. This is India.

Upon reaching the market, it was described by one of our team leaders as stepping back into the time of Jesus. Everywhere you looked, people had their displays of fish or produce in separate piles on the ground and even if you couldn’t see, the smells alone would inform you of what was available for barter. For awhile it seemed as though there was no end to the plethora of goods available. I even saw my first assortment of colored chicks that were dyed pink, green and blue!
This is India.

On our way back to the CEM campus we passed the newest and biggest building in the neighborhood. It’s the newly built Free hospital that our team of dentists will be seeing patients in tomorrow. All along the way, we handed out fliers to people in the community advertising the free services that are to be provided and the hope that comes with it. Ironically, right across from the entrance to the hospital was the Hindu temple surrounded by filth that we passed at the beginning of our trip. This is India.

So how does one fully describe India? They can’t. You have to be here to fully grasp it and I’m thankful that I’ve had the opportunity to do so. – Andy Van Zee

2 Responses to “A taste of India”

  • Blessings to you and your team. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Keeping you in our prayers in Iowa.

  • Hi Andy!! It is truly indescribable unless you are there. Not to mention the pigs, chickens and other animals wondering the streets as if they own Are you guys enjoying Lakshmi’s delicious morning coffee? Indulge in one for me and give her my love.