A after a long and intense day on Monday, Tuesday dawned clearer and warmer. We had a later start, loaded into cars and headed to the offices of Cure International. Cure International is the organization run by our Delhi host Santosh George with his wife Atula. Cure International uses a non-invasive technique that involves casting and corrective shoes to reverse the impact of club foot in children. Their long-term goal is to eliminate disability caused by club foot in India. While they hold Christian values of love and hospitality at the core of their work, they operate as a medical non-profit, in partnership with the government. We visited their clinic in the hospital on the first day in Delhi; today's visit was in the offices where families were meeting with counselor. We met in small groups with three families each. The children were beautiful, the stories difficult - one mother had left her husband when he refused to seek treatment for her son. She now lived with her mother and her 1 year old son. Another young mother's husband had died recently due to a reaction to drugs he was taking for an infection. Her husband's brother brought her and her 18 month old daughter to receive treatment. The third mother was there with a sister-in-law and her 1 year old son. All of them were hopeful about their children's future, imagining careers as engineers and doctors. The two with the most difficult circumstances smiled from ear to ear. We asked about the treatment, their life at home, their financial situation, their educational background, their age, their fears. Every question was welcome.
It is important I think here to shed some light on Santosh's leadership and vision for the Kingdom of God. Santosh expresses great appreciation for the historic mission work of the global church within India. He also has a beautiful vision for kingdom. It would not be acceptable for Cure to be a religious organization. However they seek to operate out of their Christian values to serve people from all backgrounds, thereby sharing the love of Christ. There is a strong sense among the Christians we've met that all of these various faith traditions serve the same God and have central tenets about love and service. The kingdom will include all of God's children from various walks. We can't build kingdom without this interfaith work and understanding. All of the India Cure offices stop for prayers together at noon on Tuesday. Santosh shared that their way of working in the hospitals and systems has caused people to ask why they are "different" and are appreciative of the answer about their faith-based nature.
Our lunch was at a local restaurant called Barbecue Nation. The tables had grills that set down in the center and for starters, we were served skewers of fish, chicken, shrimp, veggies and pineapple as well as a series of small bites - roasted corn, these fantastic roasted potatoes, cheese. All of this was followed by a buffet. Nutty quantities of food in a nation with little to spare it would seem. It was all excellent...the grilled meats especially.
We spent the afternoon with a driver and one of the counselors from the clinic - a young woman named Sangita. She was quiet and not confident with her English, but once when everyone else piled out of the car to get money, she turned to me to tell me I had a beautiful smile....this launched us into a lively conversation about the safety of women and the state of penalties for crime. She took us to the Lotus Temple, the Indian national B'hai temple. It was a beautiful and peaceful, set atop a high spot away from the crush of people and streets and crumbling buildings. Then we hit a bazaar where various states' artisans were represented. I had a fantastic conversation with an artisan from Kashmir whose family wove and embroideries fine fabrics. He had beautiful genuine pashmina shawls, dyed and natural, with stunning hand work. He was a skilled salesman too. The fabrics here from various states are stunning, and their diversity creates such an amazing array of saris. I could come home with suitcases full of textiles (I won't, but I could!).
We packed up that night to spend Wednesday debriefing and traveling to our next destination, Kolkata.