20 June 2013

Vomiting words.

That's what I've been doing whenever someone has asked about my trip to Mumbai.

Honestly, I don't what to tell you. I don't how to describe with words what my eyes have seen. The beauty and horror that is stitched to my heart. So I'm going to try my best and hopefully it will come out in a readable fashion.

Makeshift bus station.
First off, I should reaffirm that there is a need in Mumbai. In all of India, as a matter of fact. A half a million (no exaggeration) NGOs have registered themselves in the area, claiming to be saving children, offering education and better lives for those in poverty, but many of them are just names. The money is going to no one who needs it. So friends, beware. If you have a heart for India and want to help a country that needs it so much, make sure you know where your money is going, because so much of it is not ending up in the right hands.

So the only way I can organize my thoughts is in days. Our days were extremely long and often blurred together. This was partly because life in India is not as planned and detailed as life here at home. K.C Chacko Achen (I'll introduce you to him later) said it best, "Our days are only as planned as far as we can see." And most of the time, you didn't see beyond the hour ahead of you. As frustrating as it was to not know how planned, packed or scheduled or was, it was liberating to not live by a watch but only by how much light we had left in the day.

Day 1

Looking out the window in Navi Mumbai or Thane District.

Finally in Mumbai at 3 AM. When we got off the plane, I was met with the smell of rotten potatoes mixed with body odor. A heavenly scent that said, "Welcome to the Motherland, Nincy. We missed you." I haven't been to India in 8 years and of course my memories blocked out the smells, chaos and squatting toilets. As I'm writing, there's sweat on my brow and my paper is curling from humidity--we're enjoying our only day of rest before traveling the whole state of Maharastra for the next ten days.

We are staying at the Diocesan Centre in Navi Mumbai. I may be wrong, but for each diocese we have a Thirumeni (a Bishop) overseeing its projects. In Mumbai, it is Thomas Mar Theethos.
Before breakfast, Thirumeni spent some time with us explaining the Mumbai diocese, its mission and projects. He explained that in most of these places, we're not going to be expected to do a certain thing, but to listen to the stories and testimonies of the first believers in these villages, and observe how and what the church is doing to grow His kingdom. In some ways, this was disheartening. I wanted to leave a mark; make a difference in the lives of these people. Only after did I realize, they were leaving their marks on me. 

Tomorrow we will be visiting Nalla Sopara, K.C Chacko Achen's parish and the Centre for Missological Studies. There we'll meet about 40 evangelists who serve in different villages and hamlets all over Maharastra. We'll also meet Dolly Jacob, a social worker and psychologist who works in the red light area of Mumbai. Dinner was a surprise--we met the boys of the Navajeevan Extension Home. Guys in their early 20s who were taken off the streets of Mumbai at a young age and given a chance to turn their lives around.

Are you overwhelmed? Yeah. And this was only DAY ONE. Now you know why I've been choking on words.


  1. hahahaha body odor and rotten potatoes :) I miss it, I think. I can't wait to read the rest about our NJ friends :)

  2. Thanks guys. I miss it too Julie! Going back for sure. Come with me!