The Pilgrims’ Progress
In the month of April, we came up with the idea of making a trip to Uttarakhand, intending to bring awareness about Sexual abuse, Pornography and Foeticide.
Well, a few institutions were keen to have us speak about these issues. However, we were asked to come in July. I was a bit wary of the trip since the mountain terrain of Uttarakhand is not often passable in July, with the onset of monsoon. it's almost terrible to travel, due to the landslides and natural calamity. Further, we did not know how many people we would be able to reach out in this one week of time.
On the 22nd of July; Ashraye, Alish, Tara, and Tina who are part of ‘Sanctity of Life’ team, left for Dehradun, from where our seminars were lined up. Our itinerary was mostly occupied with travel and seminars: a closely-packed trip. We conducted seminars in quite a few schools and other institutions. But two incidents stand out in our trip. I would like to share about these two incidents.
On our way from Dehradun to Uttarkashi, the roads were steep and curvy on the edges, we had to be really careful while driving on those narrow roads. On the one hand, we see huge mountains and on the other side, we see the deep valley. It’s monsoons and that made the roads more slippery. There weren’t many people driving on those roads. But since it was the time of pilgrimage to Gangotri and Rishikesh there were a few pilgrims driving on those roads. On one of the curves, we encountered a big truck loaded with pilgrims. We had to apply sudden brakes. But our car slipped and drifted towards the edge of the road, and with a heavy thump, our car stopped.It took a while to realise that our car was mostly tilted towards the valley. We now knew that we were in danger and the car might fall off the cliff any moment. The truck driver and the pilgrims ran towards our car and climbed on to the opposite side, which faced the cliff, to add weight, so that the car won't fall off. They were asked to come out of the car, and so we slowly did. I was panicking and I could not think properly. I went and tried supporting the car from falling off, even though it won't help. Those people who came there to help us was an act of God to save us. They came and tied a rope on the car and pulled the vehicle out from the edge. We were scared, worried, and shaken with what had happened. It was the mercy of God that we were safe. The trip was a blessing, our team members really had to struggle a lot with motion sickness. My past experience reminds me of the difficulty of working there. But God’s peace and strength embraced us.
On the 24th of July, we headed towards the Matli village. We were not sure how profitable it would be. We were going quite out from our normal route, just for a school and a small team. On the 25th of July, we conducted a seminar with the school kids. This was our primary intention and it went really well. We had some interesting interactions with the kids. On 26th, we were to head back to Mussoorie for another set of seminars. On the same morning, we conducted a seminar with the team there. We decided to speak on pornography and abortion. We reached the venue, where we were asked to wait, we waited for 45 mins just for these team members to arrive. They took us to a small room. There were just 11 of them who turned up for the seminar. Two of them were women. Anyways we started our session by 9:30, we spoke on pornography first. Later Ashraye took the seminar for abortion. The atmosphere in the room changed; we could see wet eyes and undivided attention towards every detail of the seminar. The seminar was opening their inner eyes to the reality of abortion. They understood the sanctity of the little life in the womb. They informed us that due to their lack of knowledge, they had supported people with abortion.
It was very much a need for them to know the reality of this social issue (abortion). They serve communities as community developers,and so their influence in the community is also significant. Being a part of the clinic team, they talk to people, whom they meet in the clinic and counsel them. It is surely a need for them to be aware of the truth about abortion. And this particular incident touched me and moved my heart to reach out to more people like them.