Visiting the Slums

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As I sit here and recall the events of today — I have a greater appreciation for tomorrow. I have been exposed to a way of life that is unfathomable to the people that I know back home. It’s a way of life that has the channel changed on it when we get over feeling sad. This is a place we can barely begin to perceive.

The moment I stepped off our air-conditioned van, the heat and smells of the slums we visited today hit me like a brick wall. As I looked around in all directions, I saw fields of garbage being roamed by stray dogs, goats and cows. Next to that were storefronts, a restaurant, and a bar or two. And most notably, humans living amongst it all.

As we turned to walk up the side street, I could feel the energy from the glances of the locals. This energy is not negative, nor positive. It felt neutral to me. After all, they can only be left to wonder. Who are we, and what is our right to be there anyway? This is not our community, or our home. I am caught staring back multiple times and can’t help but notice the eyes of both children and adults. Rich, chocolatey browns, emerald greens, and gold gleam in the bright afternoon sun. Behind these eyes lie both innocence and curiosity.

I have yet to speak with anyone personally. However, the bright personalities of the children I saw, combined with the colours of the buildings, temples, structures, and clothing are all so vibrant. There are so many things that are happening at once in this place. So much order amongst so much chaos. With all of this going on, will I ever truly grasp the complexity?

I am excited to immerse myself more into these communities as the program moves on. There is much more to see before I can gain a sense of what I’m feeling right now. As an outsider, it is easy to dissect certain elements I see on the surface but I am curious to know how deep I will be able to dig.