India-Part 2 of 3
Eight flights of stairs took us to the top of our building. Walled. Private.
Above the crowds, seeing the city from a broader perspective.
On the streets, necessity required us to stay focused. Watch our every step to avoid garage, potholes, dogs, people, feces. Be on guard against the unfamiliar,the crowds, the harried traffic, the leering eyes.
But up here there was space and freedom to lean against the cement wall and leisurely just look.
From one viewpoint we watched the countless vehicles; taxis, trucks, mopeds, buses, bicycles ,tuk-Tuks. Watched as the many vied for the few lanes, crowding, swerving, weaving in and out. Rarely colliding and Always, Always honking.
Raising our eyes from the streets, the horizon was filled with buildings. As far as the eyes could see, tall dilapidated buildings crowded together. Holding each other up, as if one fell, the whole city would come crumbling down.
And then there was the other view. The view we always came back to. The view we could see only from this top floor. The view of the pink and yellow buildings that were part of the District. The Red Light District where thousands of women lived in bondage. Shame. Fear and hopelessness. While we three stood free in body and spirit, our eyes fell upon the “home” of thousands enslaved. We grieved. We prayed.
It was for these women that we had made this trip. This long cross continent journey. To assist in the fight for freedom. To support, in our small way, those living in this neighborhood..indeed some in this very building. Those who were giving their lives to “freedom businesses” that employ and empower the women trapped in the District.
One of these freedom givers had told us, “We are like the ambulance at the bottom of the hill. Picking up the bruised and broken…”
Yes, we had observed the smiling faces of women healing. Women recovering health, dignity, joy. These freedom businesses were bringing so much more than financial freedom. It was beautiful to witness.
But this man had not finished there. They were the “ambulance at the bottom of the hill,” but their vision was to be the “fence at the top of the hill.” To go into the villages and districts where they women were coming from. To build a fence of freedom businesses that would employ and empower. Financial security would be paramount to protecting the vulnerable from falling into the District. Business that could build a fence. A wall. Such a wall..that one day when three women stood on top of a tall building and looked into the Red Light District, all they would see are empty buildings. And an old abandoned ambulance.