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Unforgettable faces -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1 October 28, 2006

Unforgettable faces

I spent the day in Pune today. It was unbelievable. The city was as busy as any large city in the states, but if you can begin to imagine traffic 10 times worse than New York City, you have just a hint of what driving in Pune was like. There are motorized carts (called Took Tooks) and motorcycles by the hundreds, cars, buses, trucks, cow-drawn carts, and bicycles fighting for space on the road ― sometimes four or five vehicles across what would probably be a two-lane highway at home. There were a few traffic lights around, but they seemed to make things worse!

There are people living all over the streets of Pune and lining the road on the way into the city. The only difference between the people living on the streets here and people living on the streets in the United States is that they are accepted as part of the city here. They live in makeshift tents or just out on the street or are part of a row of structures made out of whatever they can find; they are accepted as city dwellers. At home, a homeless person wouldn’t be allowed to stay in one place for very long.

There are people who beg for food and money. The hardest to see are the children. They are absolutely beautiful children who know just enough English to tug at your heart. “Please, auntie, I am hungry. … Please, auntie, I am thirsty.” I think it will be some time before I forget their faces.

The little house that my Dad lived in and missed so much looks like a palace compared to what I’ve seen here. My own home is beyond luxury! I hope the little we are doing will be enough to give some families happy memories in the years to come.