This last week, I got some update emails from Sarah, the girl at Faceless International who is organizing our trip. She sent us a rough itinerary, and some information about the people who are going.
There are 20 of us - 18 Americans, one Australian, and one New Zealander (Kiwi). Two of the people on the trip are moms coming along with their teenagers, which will definitely throw a different dynamic into the group, but it should be a good one. They will probably end up acting as de facto leaders or something, which would be good for such a large group.
Our Itinerary is as follows:
December 26th - Orientation in NYC
December 27th - Departure flight to Kolkata, India (it's approximately a 21 hour trip, so it will be about 2 days traveling).
December 29th: Arrive and tour Kolkata - see the red light district, Mother Theresa's Order, and visit schools that work with high risk children living in the red light district.
December 30-31st: We'll travel to Vizag, a coastal fishing town in southwest India, where we will visit a school dedicated to helping girls who have been rescued out of the sex trade. This school teaches girls how to make bags and other fun crafts that are then sold online so they can support themselves and keep from having to return to the trade. These are the items sold through the Emancipation Network - www.madebysurvivors.com.
January 1st - 5th: We'll travel to Nellore, a village that is further inland, and here visit a school and work with some of the children who attend it. The school is for the children of widows who would otherwise receive no education - India is still a very patriarchal society, where, in some areas, a widow is expected to throw herself on the funeral pyre of her dead husband. Many have foregone this practice for the sake of their children, but it doesn't mean that the children are able to receive a good education. That's why this school exists. We will host some programs and be shown programs by the children. The email also says that here I can plan on playing lots of soccer and cricket.
January 5th: Return to the United States.
Sarah also writes that: There is a possibility of us participating in some building and painting projects as well for the schools that we will be visiting. However, alot of time will be spent touring villages in India and seeing first hand where trafficking victims come from and the poverty they are trying to hard to escape. Sadly, we will see how natural slavery is in the culture of India. We will drive by workers making bricks on the side of the road. We will see children picking rice with their parents in rice fields. We know its slavery, yet to many in India, its a way of life.
As you can see, this will be quite the whirlwind tour, but well worth it. Your prayer and support are always welcome, especially during the days that we will be traveling. I would urge you to check out Made by Survivors, run by the Emancipation Network, and see what these girls are producing. There's some very cool stuff, and hopefully I'll be able to pick some up while I'm over there.
Thanks very much for reading and for your support.