Posted by: canaryinacoalmine | December 6, 2008

India –

 

Date: Tue., 13 May 2008 18:43:33 -0700

From: j77henry@yahoo.com

Subject: monsoon season

the pilots told me once monsoon season hits there will probably be weeks  where power will be out and all telecommunication will be down and i won’t be able to get in contact with anyone.   I’m getting an Indian Phone upon returning to Mumbai, so I’m told.   I’ll be turning my U.S. phone off and will only be paying enough to keep the number.  It will be $.015 to text message from the U.S. for you all.  If you have skype on your computer you can call me U.S. to india for 2 cents a minute.  Unfortunately if I try to call from India it’s about $1.50 a minute and paying those type of bills is not why I signed on to this project. 

 

Freaking fabulous right?

 

I was talking to a guy at the hotel bar last night (How many of my stories start with …at the hotel bar last night?) we were discussing Mother Teresa’s mission and the church in downtown Kolcutta (Calcutta).  By the way Mom and Dad, I’m in Kolcutta right now.  We flew here with Shah Ru Khan and a few of his cricket players.  Speaking of cricket, I will never again claim baseball to be the most boring sport as cricket rightfully has trumped it. Kolcutta is stricken with poverty as is the entire country.  India has a beautiful sense of peace and sadness, however the poverty is pain staking.  These people have no liberties even though it is considered to be the largest democratic nation in the world.  We fly the corrupt Indian ministers and see the money change hands on the plane.  The very thought turns my stomach.  The class division is unabashedly noticable.  People have no place to live by the masses; they live on the side of the street, kids run around sans parents begging for anything a stranger will offer.  Toddlers roam in and out of traffic under the burning Indian sun without shoes.  More than once, I’ve turned to Dave, the pilot from Cali, and said, “this is breaking my heart,” then broke down in tears as he ushered me into a cab.  These people have nothing and don’t even know what the rest of the world has.  Instead of staying home and watching the television in the evening as we do in the States they wander the streets and tend to their cows roaming the alley in traffic worse than Manhattan, Dallas and Chicago combined.  

 

I can’t seem to stomach any of the food here, and have completely lost my appetite. I don’t know if it’s truly psychological or due to the poverty I’m seeing.  Literally, we pass homeless three year olds and people who have legs smaller than my wrists.  (Mom/Dad – I’m going to need you to send me soup or something because I’ve already lost ten pounds and still go to the gym on a daily basis- the Nicole Richie look is so 1993).  The pilots are giving me a hard time about not eating, I feel so sorry for these people and give my food to them and then walk in to my five star hotel. You get the picture… it’s heart wrenching. 

 

I’ve never seen filth and disgust like this. 

 

Calcutta is cleaner than Bombay(Mumbai) – we have drivers everywhere we go. there are no traffic laws.  Yesterday, on the way to the airport we made a turn which in the states would have been considered a one way street.  **I’ve been to Mexico City where a city bus deliberately crosses eight lanes of traffic without warning and cuts cars off at 60 mph however, when we turned into on coming traffic and clipped a few cars I nearly lost the bile in my stomach and said more than a few expletives.  The pilots just shrugged and said, “Eh! You’ll get used to it.”

 

I’m flying a rich family who owns half of India and all their Bollywood friends who own the other half.  We have trips planned to Africa, Geneva, France and Bangkok but while I’m in India – my heart can’t help to leak (i blame my parents). I’ve talked to the front desk at our hotel about going to some mission churches to volunteer.  In return, they have tried to talk me out of it as I will be putting myself in danger.  I’m really sick and tired of people referring to me as “Miss Henry” simply because I’m at a five star hotel.  These type of hotels are extremely accommodating, I’m such a tomboy and find it annoying, “Thank-you but I can handle it.”  In other words, back the fuck off I’ve got it. 

 

  I’m asking you all to think about the people in this world who have nothing more than the clothes on their back.  I’m asking you to step outside of your daily life and do something completely random for someone else.  Maybe they know you are doing it on purpose and maybe not.  I’m asking you to give up something to help someone who doesn’t have the goods you do.  Even if it’s collecting the travel goods in a hotel bathroom and donating them to a shelter.  I don’t care if you do it in your religions name.  Just do it.  We truly are blessed and take advantage of everything we have in the U.S.  Do good in the world SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU CAN!!! 

 

I’m stepping down from the stoop now. 

All my love,

Jess

 

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