But what if there is no “place” to shelter in?
We are told to “Wash your hands frequently.”
But what if there is barely enough water to drink in order to stay alive?
What if there is not enough food to sustain life?
This is the reality for millions of people in India during this COVID-19 pandemic.
No place or adequate place to shelter.
No water to drink, let alone to wash one’s hands. Day after day no food to eat.
The people whom I have written about below are the weaving together of many people’s stories which intertwine into one representative person for the homeless, the migrant workers and the widows. They do not have specific names, as their names are many, yet their stories are the reality of countless people in India. Here are some of their representative stories.
“I am a homeless man. I Iive on the streets of Vijayawada. Very, very sadly, it is not just me that is homeless, but also my wife and newborn baby. My baby was born on the street three weeks ago. There was no space at the hospital. There were too many people with `the virus’ in the hospital. Our only `shelter’ at night is a piece of cardboard that I put on the ground in a back alley or in a doorway and that is how we sleep. Well, I try to sleep, while at the same time fearing that we will be robbed. Food is hard to find now during the pandemic. There is little food that is discarded for people like us anymore. The thing that really hurts, even more than the pain in our stomachs, is that we have been discarded by society. We are seen, and treated, as `sub-human.’
“Yet, through God’s leading we found the volunteers from Metropolitan Mission. Actually, they found us. They were giving out food to those in need. We were in desperate need. They saw my wife, my baby and me and gave us food and water. They said they would provide for us during the pandemic. My wife and I felt cared for and valued as human beings. Each of us matters. They told us that God never discards anyone. Never. No matter what. I will never forget that. I am a person of worth in God’s eyes. Their food and water for my body was one thing but their food for my soul was worth infinitely more.”
“I am a migrant worker. My wife and five young children journey with me as I travel hundreds and hundreds of kilometers in search of work each year. When I find work, the pay is so little that we look for shelter in an abandoned building: for the children’s sake, we call it, `home.’ Last week we were told that because of the pandemic the whole country has to be in `lockdown.’ For my family it means that we have to return to our home city. It is 450 km away!! All we have are our feet to take us there. Each step taken in 45 C plus heat. O, God have mercy! How will I ever be able to do that with a baby, and my other children 2, 3, 5 and 7 years old! Our `shelter’ on the trip is the ditch at the side of the road. Our food and water will come from God only knows where.
“And then while seeking a good place in the ditch to shelter in for the night … God came to
us with food and water in the form of an organization called Metropolitan Mission. We were
starving, and they gave us food. Our mouths were parched, and they gave us water to drink.
They gave so much when we had nothing. They gave us life and what sustains it! I thank God
“I am a widow. I do not know how old I am, but I have lived through many, many difficulties— wars, floods, famines, and the death of my husband and two of my three sons. I struggle to survive on the meager handouts that I get from my neighbours. Now with the pandemic, there are difficulties that I never could have imagined. The police are brutal in making sure that people stay inside. Before the neighbours shared their food with me. Now they are scared to leave their homes because of the police. Also, there is not enough food for them, and so there is none left over to give to me. My bones have ached for years, but now my stomach aches as it never has before. My lips are parched. There is no water.
“But then, someone came with food and water. They came from Metropolitan Mission to help this old woman. They promise to come back with more food and water every few days so that I will not go hungry or thirsty anymore during this pandemic. A miracle? Yes! It is a miracle!”
Due to our generous supporters, CHILD has been providing a generous amount of funds to support Metropolitan Mission as it does a lot of relief work with people who are overlooked, marginalized and treated as second class citizens. Some of these people are very old and some are very young. All are suffering enormously. Life in India is hard at the best of times for those at the bottom of Indian society. Now life is nearly impossible. Yet through the work that Metropolitan Mission is able to undertake with CHILD funds—the impossible is being made possible. If you would like to make the impossible, possible then please go to https://www.childsociety.org/donate.html
to make a donation. You are the difference that makes all the difference