* The pictures above were taken at the “Girls Can Be” event.
The horn bellows as the ferry pushes away from the dock, the sun shining off the waters of the Georgia Straight. I watch for a few minutes as beautiful Vancouver Island starts to disappear, closing a chapter in DWP’s life and pointing east toward a new one. The series of flights that will take me to Mumbai starts at the Vancouver International Airport.
In the last few months, DWP has thrown events in Calgary,Victoria, (with support from local businesses from Sidney to Vancouver) and Munich. The events have included a night at the theater with Langham Court, a Cut a Thon with Lab Salons followed by a club night with Lucky Bar and DWP photography exhibitions at Habit Coffee, Zebra Design, Union Pacific, Les Cafe Westend in Munich and most recently Abstract Designs in Victoria. I have also had the opportunity to speak with hundreds of children from grades 6-12 in both Calgary and Victoria, giving these kids a glimpse into what it is like to live in a slum community in India.
DWP has been written about in several newspapers and online publications and has been able to gain new supporters with the help of friends. The new initiative “Girls Can Be” (GCB) has become a reality. The first event held at Union Pacific Coffee last week was a huge success and helped raise over $3200 for GCB. This money will go towards the construction and renovation of our rented space in Saki Naka. Not only will this be enough funds to complete construction but to also allow us to pay our rent for the first 6 months and provide 3 health camps this month! DWP will begin work immediately on the new space giving GCB life and a place to call it’s own.
After a hectic day in Vancouver that included a great evening with good friends and family, I said goodbye to my sister at 4 am, as we hugged through sleepy eyes. Walking down Granville Street, heading for the train to the airport, with my bags slung over my shoulder I watched as Vancouver started to wake. Finally at the Vancouver airport, my boarding pass in hand, I watch my 11 year old backpack slowly head up the conveyor belt and into the bowels of the airport and it finally hits me. Looking down at my boarding pass, I read the name Mumbai, a city that didn’t mean much to me only 2 years ago. Now this city is a part of me and I get why Mumbaikars are so loyal to their city. As an outsider, only the problems are noticeable, but each trip I take here, a layer of this chaotic, exotic city peels back and allows me to understand a little bit more.
The possibilities are endless and the next 6 months will be both frustrating and amazing but I look forward to peeling back that next layer and sharing it with all of you, because none of DWP’s work is possible without the other. I have had several discussions about charity and what it means to help. For me, it’s about working in the slum, covered in dirt, with children chasing me and a smile from ear to ear, but this isn’t the only way to make a difference. We each have our own voice and ability to help, whether it be the journalist who brings DWP’s stories to life and into the homes of people who were unaware, or an individual buying a ticket to a DWP event. My point is there are so many ways to be a global citizen and without the support both monetary and mentally from DWP’s friends I wouldn’t be heading back to this amazing country with the ability to change lives.
With one more flight to go (I am now sitting in the Frankfurt airport) I will arrive in the mega city of Mumbai, a city so unlike any other I’ve ever been to. I look forward to walking down the airport walkway, huge panes of glass separating me from the hot and humid city only a few feet away, looking through the throngs of people for Ashley’s familiar face. India was a place that I travelled to just a short time ago but it is now somewhere that I have a life, friends and a community of people that depend on DWP’s help as I do theirs.
Everything I have done over the last 3 months (throwing fundraising events and working in the Yukon bagging dirt for Golden Predator to earn money for myself) is to make the next 6 months happen. This is an exciting time for DWP with new projects in the works and a renewed energy to make it happen. I am anxious to hear the pilot say the words….’we are beginning our descent into Mumbai, please prepare for landing’.
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