Almost exactly one year ago, I was in Mumbai. I have no idea quite how it was a year ago – but I do know that it was a year ago, because I have a photo time capsule that sends me photos of where I was a year ago from my flickr feed.
I was there to meet with some people and see some possible venues for a conference that I’m helping organise, and to see a little bit of one of the world’s busiest cities where people live almost on top of each other, in incredible wealth and incredible poverty in the same small acre of land.
And on my last day, I was taken to visit a group that works in one of the red light districts, visiting women in the brothels, building relationships with them in the situations that they find themselves in. And I wrote this:
I have no idea what else to ask, what to talk about, how to communicate with someone who lives in a world I could barely begin to imagine when I just knew about it and didn’t really want to believe in when I was standing in it. 99% of my brain was just screaming, “HOW DOES THIS EVEN HAPPEN? WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, WORLD?” and the other 1% was trying not to burst into completely helpless tears.
Sometimes it feels like people are taking tiny, fruitless, fairy-steps forwards and backwards as they try to move towards the future – because the numbers on the downside are just so big. But in Mumbai there’s a huge bunch of churches all trying to take these tiny fairy-steps together, hopefully rather than fruitlessly, believing that their passion and their God is bigger than the really big numbers. And this conference we’re organising in November is about meeting those people and learning from them, and trying to do what they’re doing in other parts of the world. And it’s all starting, now, to get a little bit real… (and I get to go back)