My Best Day Ever – Hope Island
Nothing compares to the day I had today. It is by far the best day of my life thus far… I can say stuff like that, cause I’m not married, and I don’t have kids.
Let me introduce you to Hope Island.
And if that isn’t enough, meet Bhavani (BAH-vonny)
Isn’t she just the sweetest thing ever?! She gave me a tour of the island, explaining everything as best she could, knowing very little English… She made the cutest face when she was unsuccessful at getting her message across, and she knew I didn’t understand. It was her disappointed face, and just oozed the idea of “I’m bummed” She would look up at me, scrunch her little nose up, and make this smacking sound with her lips. Talk about melt your heart, and make me want to learn to speak Telagu as fast as possible. I just don’t have words to express how this little one pierced my heart.
Since she showed me around, I’d like to share what I saw with you. So without further ado here’s a little tour of Hope Island:
This is what they use to brush their teeth:
This is the field where they find their water (more on the water thing in a bit):
Here are some of the homes on the island:
Their school building:
Now, for a little background on Hope Island… The people that live there are fishermen. The men, and about half of the children do the fishing, and the women go to the mainland to try and sell the dried fish. The trips to the mainland, and the fishing trips mean the men and women are gone for days at a time, leaving the children alone on the island. Their diet consists mainly of fish, and from what I gathered they go hungry a lot. Fishing is seasonal, and apparently during the lean times, they have to borrow money, and they get exploited with ridiculous interest rates, when they do. For drinking water, they dig big holes in the sand in the middle of the island until they find water, then put the water in a container and let it sit for 3-4 days until all of the grit and sand settles. Here are some pictures of what it looks like.
So now, you know a lot about the island, now let me tell you about our day:
We rode a bus for over an hour to get to port, and then boarded a boat, and were on the boat for about an hour as well, until we got close enough to the island. Then one of the fishing boats came and picked us up, and took us far enough in, that we could walk the rest of the way. NASA, our partner organization here, as been doing work on this island for about 3 months, there are two men who stay on the island M-F, one of them has started to teach the kids during the day, and then when the kids who fish come back, they attend school at night. Today, we were welcomed by the whole island, we went into their small school building, and the kids sang for us. We shared about Christ’s love, but were clear that we were here to love them, regardless of their beliefs. We passed out some new clothes to the children and the women. We told them about what NASA has planned for their future. They will continue to go to school on the island, until they are a little older. When they reach a certain grade they will have the opportunity to come to the mainland, and live at Light of Love or New Life, and finish school, and go to college. You should have seen the looks on the people’s faces when they were told that their children would have the opportunity to become doctor’s or engineers if they wanted. The people were told about a microfinance program that they could participate in, that would free them from the constant debt and exploitation. They were told about an organization that would be providing them with an alternative, clean water source. They were told that the children would, to start, would be getting one meal a day provided, and that our desire was to provide 3 meals every day for each child.
In short, Hope Island was given some real hope today, all in the name of Christ. Please join us as we start to meet the needs of these people by praying for them daily. I’m sure details will be coming soon on how you can get more involved. Oh, and btw, Hope Island was named by the Indian government. Isn’t that cool? Don’t know how that happened, but it was amazing to see Hope Island get some real, tangible hope today!
This island has captured my heart, and I have committed to providing funds for the water project. It is likely to be a pricier project, given that they are on an island in the middle of the ocean (Bay of Bengal), potentially $5000… so who’s in with me?