Universal Languages

We have officially completed one full week in Kolkata and with our placements. And I'm finally feeling more adjusted to the city and my routine of going to my placement, Sari Bari, an organization that employs and empowers former sex workers. My partner Branden and I take the train, then the metro to Sari Bari. Branden usually buys the train tickets and I the metro.

Everyday this week, while I waited for Branden to buy the train tickets I would see a family that lives in the train station. A mother, father, and their newborn baby girl. I would always look, but not for too long because it felt so painful, to see such a young family and young child in such extreme poverty. I hadn't yet allowed the poverty I see on a daily basis to be a reality. On Friday, we went through the same routine to get home, the metro then the train. At the train station I saw the same family, like I had all week, but this time was different. I looked longer and let the poverty become a reality. I opened my bag and gave the mother my last 10 rupee note, and just admired her beautiful baby girl. Moments later another young mother came up to me calmly with her baby son and asked me in Bengali for food for her son. Although our language barrier made communication difficult, I used hand motions and told her I had just given away my last rupees.

She stared at me and raised her son's face to mine. I began to play with him, his tiny hand gripping my thumb and his big black eyes staring into mine. I gave all I had to give, my time in the train station and my affection. Time and love are universal languages. Jesus shows us that by the time and love he poured out to the poor. Everyday is a new opportunity to open my heart and let Jesus show me what it means to engage with the poor.

- Odua Acquaah