I watched with great fascination the documentary film, Mother India: Life through the Eyes of the Orphan (2012). With 31,000,000 orphans in India, this movie invites us to peek into the lives of 25 abandoned or orphaned youngsters (ages from three-to-25) that live near the railway line in South India. I’ve been thinking boiler service near me a lot about India which is suffering greatly from COVID. The world today sends material assistance as well as prayers, blessings and best wishes to our international neighbors, our sisters and brothers in India.
David Trotter and Shawn Scheinoha, who conveyancing made the documentary, first travelled to Tenali (Andhra Pradesh) which has a population of 3 hundred thousand, in the year 2004. They meet Geetha, Reddy, Nagareju, Lakshmi, Kotegwari, Polayya, Yellapah, Satkyananda, Aadamma, Yesu, Abdullabi, Baachir, Chilipada, Raja, Ramu, Sekar, Siva, Gopi, P. Gopi, Hussen, Kiran, Mark, Nageswararao, Nami, and Narendra these are all beautiful names shining human beings worthy of our admiration. David and Shawn took a look at the children’s lives and tried to look at life with their eyes. Children sleep on floors made of dirt or cement covered with condoms and needles. Many sleep near store fronts. They swaddled themselves in blankets so they could avoid mosquitoes, and also avoid being branded as an exploitation-prone young man.
The kids beg for money for food from train passengers who pass by often by “cleaning” or sweeping the train-car floor, then offering their hands to pay 1 or 2 rupees (one to two cents). At the end of the day, they might have a couple of dollars to purchase food. The group’s leader was friendly Reddy (“I only have my mother; she beat me, so I fled. “) He was in his 20s, but being a homeless person for over 10 years on the street. Reddy would rally the group to support each other. Lakshmi was assaulted by a foster parent who injured her with a fiery steelrod. When her boyfriend saw her talking to another boy, he forced her to stick her hand beneath the train. Her fingers were smashed. In tears, she claimed she had a baby boy and he passed away just three days old. Satkyananda’s parents were killed during a bus crash. Nagareju’s family beat him and he fled. Three-quarters of the children were missing a limb, often from falling when leaping on the train (train jumping). The children initially wanted to display David Shawn and David Shawn their wounds: missing fingers, hands and leg deep lesions. That is a major unhidden yet often overlooked component of the pain they carried.
“Not above but among,” David and Shawn decide to leave their comfortable air-conditioned Gotham Hotel room and sleep among the homeless youngsters on the dirt and concrete floor. They endured, if for a couple of hours, exposure to the extremely hot weather and a host of biting mosquitoes. In the morning the children saw them huddled asleep together, a pod of security, like a group of puppies, wrapped in mounds. The children brush their teeth at the well using their fingers and produce the powder upon the spot by rub bricks together.
Young people are invited to to a fair to are entertained by fun, games, and rides, taking their minds off constantly thinking about how they will stay alive. Every child were prone to “bad habits” to numb the pain in their bleak lives. Some used tobacco chewing or smoking and some, in danger of sharing needles, injected unidentified substances, which “took away the sadness.” A few “huffed” by sucking in smoke from rags that had been soaked in Erazex “White-Out” correction fluid priced at 50 cents “to not feel the pain of police beatings or the rain and cold in winter, and mosquito bites. “A journey to the burial site of a youngster who had died three weeks before of an overdose was filmed.
Children were sexually abused and the older ones abused the younger ones. Geetha recounts the tragic story of being sold to the red-light area sexual sex to earn money. Serendipitously, two men who recognized him returned him to the hostel for youth. In prayer, with his hands folded, Geetha says, “I am thankful to these two men.” HIV/AIDS is prevalent among these young people.
But they still have hopes and dreams. Their eyes are still lit up. “I want to run my own business and enjoy life as a normal person.” “I want to be a mechanic.” “I want a good house and to marry.” “I want to get a house for myself.” David and Shawn go to their close friends at Harvest India, to place at their main orphanage two children with the lowest IQ, siblings, Kotegwari, a seven-year-old girl and Polayya the boy, who is three years old. The group takes the bus, and then head to the orphanage, where they have haircuts, showers, receive new clothes, and have a mouthwatering dinner consisting of chicken, various curries along with rice and yogurt. The children were smiling, “walking different,” with a sense of self-respect, freshness and respect.
Reddy and the kids support Kotegwari and Polayya in their move to the orphanage although they would not choose to live there. Suresh along with Christina Kumar oversee daily operations of Harvest India, a service that provides care to, alongside, and from orphaned, unaccompanied, abandoned children. They offer homes to 1400 children at 26 different places. Harvest India is in operation for over 40 years. Suresh says the discarded children are miserable, distrustful and feeling abandoned homeless, abandoned and without a person who can talk to them, being abused without a father or mother or care for, devalued instead of loved. Suresh himself was raised in an orphanage. There, after his father died early, the mother found employment. Suresh and Christina begin the process by which Kotegwari and Polayya are accepted as part of Harvest India.
Harvest India with all the good work it has done isn’t unaffected by criticism (fair or unjust) because it isn’t honest about its Christian missionary focus to convert 74% of the Hindu and 12% Muslim populace (and other minority religions) to Christianity which currently is only about 6% of the population of India. The film does raise our awareness of mind and heart, changing our world to the positive small steps that could lead to large healing.