Compassion, Calcutta and Kids

by Guest

This post was written by guest contributor, Robin from Pensieve, who is in India this week with Compassion Bloggers.

Compassion, Calcutta and Kids

That’s not fair! 

How many times does a mother of young children hear that through the day?  What’s your standard response?  My husband and I consistently replied “LIFE isn’t fair!” when we’ve heard that from our own kids.

They never seemed to appreciate our wisdom on the matter when a bitter serving of Great Injustice landed on their plate.  If one of them got a larger scoop of Chocolate Chip Cookie dough ice cream or the other got to have a friend spend the night, if they thought there was inequity for whatever reason, those three words were destined to spill from their lips.

I’m in Calcutta, India with a team of bloggers this week, traveling to observe the work of Compassion International.  The depth and breadth of poverty here defies imagination.  It’s not just about dollars and cents, it’s an assault on generations that lingers in the every day.

Suddenly I hear “THAT’S NOT FAIR!” ringing in MY ears….

calcutta boys in poverty

It’s not fair we have an extra bed in our guest room that goes largely unused.

water in Calcutta

It’s not fair clean drinking water is available in my home with the spin of a faucet.

impoverished Calcutta man bathing in pond

Bubbles and bath toys aren’t fair; neither is taking two showers a day.

poverty in Calcutta home and table fan

It’s not fair I use a table fan for white noise, not to cool my entire house.

Little Calcutta girls roaming, in poverty

It’s not fair my daughter earns in one hour baby sitting what a man in Calcutta earns in a week.

oven in poor Calcutta home

It’s not fair I have a gas stove, electric and microwave oven, and a grill.  It’s not fair we use gas for our grill and people living in poverty in Calcutta use dried cow dung mixed with hay for fuel.

Indian woman stuffing corn sack

It’s not fair I have a Publix, Super Walmart and Bi-Lo within a five-minute car ride.

I have over 300 more pictures taken over the past three days which could keep this post going for days, but I think the message is sufficiently clear:

Inequity can be viewed from a perspective of void or gain, it just depends on which side you’re sitting on at the moment.

Compassion International exists to release children from the choke-hold of poverty in the name of Jesus.  Though the core of Compassion’s work is through monthly child sponsorship, today we got to visit another element of their organization–a Child Survival Program.  In keeping with their holistic approach to ministry, this program begins before the child is born, teaching pregnant mothers how to care for themselves and eventually to care for their child.

In a room filled with mothers and children, I saw how Compassion’s work has equipped these women to care for their children in a way they wouldn’t know how to otherwise; I saw benefit not only to their immediate families, but during home visits, we saw how these trained mothers, in turn, teach and train their neighbors who aren’t in the program. 

These women who have little of material value are paying it forward.  That’s a lovely thought….

As I looked around the activity room where we met the moms and played with their adorable children, it occurred to me we might sit on opposite ends of the “fairness of life” spectrum, but in the economy of God we were one in the same.

If you’ve thought about sponsoring a Compassion child before, would you click the badge below and think a little harder? :)  If you’ve never heard about Compassion, would you take a few minutes to learn more?  This organization sets the standard in child advocacy….and because I’m meeting unsponsored children who are hopeful that will change, I’m pleading with you to do something about it {if you do, will you please let me know?  Also, please feel free to email questions to pensieve(dot)me(at)gmail(dot)com}.

Thank you, Susan and Janice for letting me share today’s adventure with your readers!  As a sponsor of two children, I’ve always thought Compassion International was a fantastic group; but now?  Seeing these children and processing what it means to them and their families?  I’ll do everything I can in the future to help tell their story, so more children can break free from the cycle of poverty.

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This post was written by guest contributor, Robin from Pensieve, who is in India this week with Compassion Bloggers.



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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Michelle April 29, 2009 at 7:03 pm

It’s not fair Robin that We have so much and for the most part,take it for granted …

This roof over our heads and the stove to make soup to make tea/coffee.

The Bed that we sleep in so comfortably.The different clothes on our backs ..

The t.v. showing whatever show or movie we wish to watch..

We are so lucky. Thank you for the blog post and for going to Calcutta this week with Compassion.

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2 Jennifer, Snapshot April 29, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Great post, Robin. I was so glad when I heard that Janice and Susan were going to let you guest post while you were over there.

We were thrilled to be a part of the trip to the DR, and I agree completely: before I went, I thought it was great. Since I’ve seen the work of Compassion up close and personal, I can’t say enough about it.

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3 Angela April 29, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Robin,

Thank you so much for sharing this perspective…too often I forget about how extremely blessed I am but items I so often take for granted. Compassion is such an amazing ministry.

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4 Faerylandmom April 29, 2009 at 10:12 pm

I want so badly so sponsor a child right now…I’m praying the Lord makes it possible, and soon.

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5 Genesis April 29, 2009 at 11:39 pm

What a great post! I live in Guatemala and it`s amazing how much we take for granted when we live in North America. My husband (he`s Guatemalan, I`m Canadian) is always stunned by the ENORMOUS houses on television . . . houses that we would consider to be small or medium sized! It really changes your perspective on things.

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6 Susan April 30, 2009 at 12:25 am

I am constantly so frustrated by the unfairness of this world. I just don’t understand why the world is as it is… but I just try to trust God despite my questions.

Thank you so much for sharing this post with us. I am so grateful for organizations like Compassion that do so much good.

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7 Ann Voskamp April 30, 2009 at 12:26 am

Thank you for telling us stories we need to hear…
God uses you….

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8 Grace April 30, 2009 at 12:59 am

What a heartwarming post. Yes, when we see these things in our own eyes, then we’ll come to know how privileged we are. Compassion International is doing a noble work to at least extend the level of “fairness” to everyone.

Kudos to you Robin for being a part of it!

BTW, most of my work colleagues here in Dubai are from India and I hear these stories and see the photos all the time. The children’s fathers come to Dubai to work to give them a more “fair” quality of life, even if it means they wouldn’t be able to be with their loved ones for years in a row.

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9 Jennie April 30, 2009 at 3:12 am

Thank you for sharing, it’s so easy for us to forget these things if someone doesn’t remind us all how good we really have it.

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10 Naomi April 30, 2009 at 7:11 am

I agree that maybe the worst part of the “unfairness” is that those of us who are more fortunate don’t even have the perspective to REALIZE it.

Thanks for this wonderful post!

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11 oh amanda April 30, 2009 at 9:32 am

Beautiful post, Robin! You nailed it. Thank you for showing us. I don’t even want to look around my house and think how UNfair my life is…

Thanks 5m4m for the post!

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12 Karmyn R April 30, 2009 at 11:50 am

Robin, you are an inspiration.

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13 Kelly April 30, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I loved this post, Robin.

You’re right — life isn’t fair. Why, Lord?

The only thing I know to do is be grateful and try to redistribute the wealth and grace that has been lavished on me.

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14 Dawn Mulroney April 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

I wonder how many times a heart can break…you are a brave, blessed soul. Thank you for going in deep and sending back messages to those of us safely on the shore. You have made Compassion real for me.

It is not fair that I get to spend an eternity with the Holy God. I have found great mercy in injustice.

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15 Danielle at ExtraordinaryMommy May 1, 2009 at 2:46 am

What an amazing post – what tremendous perspective. I love that the message is so simple – and that you, Robin, are the messenger.

You speak with grace, you act with heart. I am really looking forward to hearing more about your experiences – your voice is so strong!

Be safe and keep spreading your love!

xoxo

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16 Pamela May 1, 2009 at 12:42 pm

I can tell that YOU are being inspired — and your writing is being inspired.

I’m following with amazement.

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17 Stephanie May 6, 2009 at 2:47 am

Thanks for this post about “perspective.” It reminded me that the little worries on my mind are rather inconsequential compared to what others around the world endure on a daily basis.

My husband and I sponsor a child through World Vision – and I’m so glad that we do. It’s nice to invest in a child’s future. By doing that, we really are investing in his entire community…and, indeed, the whole world.

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