A Report from Imelda Poole IBVM who presented at the Anti Trafficking Conference, 175th Jubilee Celebrations of the IBVM Indian Province.
India had always been a country I had been drawn to go to on mission and I had volunteered many years ago. Now many years later here I am in a small part of the NE of India, impacted in a way I could never have imagined. The huge numbers of people, the noises, the smells and the dire poverty was the first explosion on my psyche that first afternoon travelling from the airport in Kolkata to Loreto House right in the middle of the city.
I was just one night in Kolkata at Loreto House, where I experienced wonderful hospitality and then I returned to the airport. The journey to the airport, once again left a huge impact. I witnessed many people inside walled latrines performing their morning ablutions on the sides of the streets. Private wash places, I soon discovered, was a luxury in most places where I visited. A huge number of street vendors were cooking for the day and the aromas were mouth-watering at every turn of corner. The streets were buzzing with a million rickshaws, small motors, market sellers and hundreds of tiny kiosks. These filled every nook and cranny and sold everything you would ever want to buy. The cows meandered through it all.
My first stay after Kolkata was in Ranchi where there is a Loreto school and where the cultural welcome included felicitations with flowers scattered over us, a washing of hands and a garland laid across my neck. This ritual was repeated so many times during my wonderful stay in this beautiful place. Please click here to read the full report.