I've been spending the past couple of weeks working in the slum community of Mundabarre in Kolkata. Each day I get to see a curious site. Walking into the slum of Mundabarra, I notice two types of homes. On my left are the slum homes the families currently live in. Made of plastic tarp, leaves, branches, salvaged construction material, the poverty of the families is marked by their homes. All cooking, cleaning, eating and sleeping happen in a room no bigger than my kitchen. With usually over five people per room, I often wonder if I'd be able to live like this. I think I'd resign myself to the poverty more quickly than I'd like to admit.
But on my right are the different homes. These are the new homes being constructed for the families of Mundabarra by the government. These homes are made of brick and stone; they are much more permanent. They have multiple rooms, windows and more space than before. They're not done yet. Right now they're in the process of finishing the floors. The site workers think it'll take a couple more months before it's finished.
It's so weird to see. The new homes of the families of Mundabarra are being built right before my eyes. I would love to say that the people of the slum see the homes as a symbol of hope and prosperity, but its often more complex than that. Maybe they're objects of frustration for them because they can't move in. Maybe they represent wishy washy promises from the government, that are proof the welfare system is broken. Honestly, I don't know what many of the community members feel about it. But what is for certain is that they are noticed. They are not forgotten by the workers at Kolkata City Mission. And KCM is faithfully calling other peoples attention to the slum. Thats where I think the real hope is. Not the material wealth and comfort that homes provide but the spiritual hope that is received. God's movement is found not in the projects or wealth but in the acknowledgment that His people are remembered.
- Wesley Chow