Global Citizen Journey, Kashmir Project

Arriving in Delhi

Dear Friends,

At last we have arrived in Delhi!  Our delegate group from the US is forming, with two more coming tonight and another coming on Monday.  And we are anxious to meet with our Kasmiri delegates with whom we will be living and working when we travel to Srinagar next Monday.

This Monday morning was quite a whirlwind!  I arrived to our hotel at about 530am, very little sleep after 24 hours of travel, had time for a nice breakfast, then off to meetings through the day.  Despite being tired, I very much appreciated the many people here that are very engaged in a compassionate helpful way with the challenges wrought by war and division, corruption, poverty, domestic violence, youth unemployment and especially, its impact on children growing up under those circumstances.

And the latter really is the focus of this project.  We are working closely with our host organization ELFA, that is committed to humanitarian work and improving the lives of vulnerable people, especially children and women.   Thus far our joint venture that has included fundraising many of you have contributed to has been able to provide basic furnishings, safe water, notebooks, and basic sanitation facilities to 4 schools in rural Srinagar.

On Tuesday I was grateful for a day of rest. I napped and rested often, getting my body used to a very new time zone, and to recover from a cold.  Three of us went for a long walk in Delhi to a market and lunch. The high point of that walk for me was a friendly encounter with a Sikh gentleman walking along the way. He was for me a reflection of the Indian hospitality and graciousness I have encountered here on this and a previous trip. He was himself a chef, and knew some local restaurants. No sales pitch, which one does encounter here, but a warm graciousness. I treasure that about India and her people.

Last evening at dinner I was privileged to meet Mehran Kahn, the founder and director of ELFA, our host organization. He has impressed me from my first hearing of him and following him on Facebook as a truly dedicated humanitarian. And in meeting him it is clear he is a natural leader, easily holds center stage with a warm, engaging style. He is remarkably well informed and connected with resources in his area, and totally dedicated to improving the lives of the children affected by the difficulties in the region. Needless to say, I developed a great liking and respect for him immediately.

In closing for now, I am feeling an excitement at what the day may bring.  With so much media focus on division and alienation, it is truly refreshing to know that there is another, even stronger movement guided by values of love, joining, respect and kindness toward one another.  I go forward in an abiding trust that that will prevail within myself and on this earthly home we all share.

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