I remember when I was a child, we lived in a town where a train track passed through. Though the track was miles away, I could hear the blasts of its horn as it travelled by. At times it kept me awake at night, even though it was half way across the city. I remember when I was a child I could hardly walk from the front door to the mailbox without a pair of shoes on. If I stepped on the tiniest of rocks I might cry out in pain. When I was growing up I went to school every day, had a meal on the table every evening and most certainly found myself tucked away in bed at night. I remember when I was a child I dreamt of leaving all of that.
I remember standing in the door of my closet one year ago at 25 years old, crying to my (then) boyfriend telling him that I did not belong in the life I knew anymore. I sobbed as I was so worried that my need to change everything and give my life to service might come across as me feeling I was above others. I remember meeting his eyes and telling him “I am not better than this… I am less than this. I am so much less than this.”
I remember what it felt like to get on a plane and truly leave it all behind. I remember the very first patient I took care of in Guwahati, I remember the first child I handed out a meal to, the first pair of dirty feet I stooped down to wash, the first wound I cleaned on the street corner. I remember sitting at my kitchen table having a true epiphany that my life was no longer mine, instead it belongs to the children who were deemed untouchable.
All of my memories are nothing compared to what the children here remember. Some remember a life of being an outcast, told to cover their smiles because they have a cleft lip. They remember the feelings of shame, being told it was their mother’s bad luck that caused their broken smile. Some of them remember finding hope, being told they are beautiful. Being played with and loved on and given surgery for nothing in return.
Some remember sleeping on cold, hard ground with trains barreling by just feet away. They remember being evicted from their cardboard homes by the government. They remember being told they are the lowest of the low. They remember fellow children dying every year from Cholera as the monsoon rains flood their slum. They remember learning to sniff glue, to get high to make their hunger go away. The children of Lakhtokia remember the first meal served to them by myself and later on my friends. They remember being scooped up into huge hugs, being bathed, being served and loved without expectation of anything in return. They remember the joyful reunions, they remember learning how to give to one another.
Be the hope, create memories for the children in your lives that inspire wholeness. In your smallest of actions, know there is greatness. In life we do not often get to truly see what the light we plant inside others grows into. I promise that if you give selflessly and love endlessly, you will be changing the whole world of each person you serve.
If you want to donate financially to help Asha Guwahati, you can do so via PayPal. Just send the money to firstname.lastname@example.org through PayPal. Easy. It costs Kristin about 25 cents to make a meal so really, every teeny little bit helps. Kristin is not an NGO, and cannot provide receipts or letters for tax purposes or whatever. This is a real informal deal, but I promise you, every cent will go toward helping people who need it and that’s all that matters.
If you think you can help another way, if you want to say hello, if you want to fly out to Guwahati and shake Kristin’s hand, you can write to her at kristinechaos at gmail dot com.