Slaves to Bricks

So they put slave masters over them to oppress them with forced labor…. But the more they were oppressed, the more they multiplied and spread; so the Egyptians came to dread the Israelites and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with harsh labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their harsh labor the Egyptians worked them ruthlessly. (Exodus 1:11-14)

I had no idea.

It’s the dry season in India. Temperatures soar well over 100° F. Low caste men, women, small children workers sit in the hot sun making bricks by hand., scooping up wet clay with rough, chapped hands, slapping it into rectangular molds, hauling them to the kiln, stacking them on pallets. They may earn as much as $1.50 for a twelve hour day. Others are paid a pittance to keep the kiln fires burning, working two six-hour shifts in every 24 hours, seven days a week, six months of the year. Continue reading

Impacting India

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India. Complex. Overwhelming. Fascinating. It’s a land of flamboyant colors, intensely flavorful food, memorable odors. The city traffic is relentless—trucks, taxies, auto-rickshaws, buses, mixed with bullock-drawn carts and bicycles, motors rumbling, horns blaring. It’s a land of contrasts—city-blanketing smog comprised mainly of smoke from cooking fires, engine fumes and factory-produced dust, and blue skied villages; churches and idols; fabulous, bejeweled wealth dressed in business suits and silk saris, and too-thin families living under bridges or in back alleys. I can’t wait to get there, and I am relieved to go home again.

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Let Trafficking Break Your Heart

A Walk Across the Sun2Some books entertain, some educate or inform, and some make you want to leap out of your chair and do something! I just finished reading a book that screams for action.

A Walk Across the Sun, by Corban Addison, is fiction, but the underlying facts are real—and heartbreaking. The story follows two teenaged Indian sisters living near the beach south of Chennai. As the book begins, it’s December 26, 2004—the morning after Christmas—the last morning of life as they know it. The family had felt the earthquake the night before but, as no damage was done, it was soon forgotten. And then the waves come. Only the sisters survive. Soaked and bleeding, they stumble home only to discover the bodies of their beloved family. Their home has been destroyed, and with no food or water, they realize they cannot stay where they are.

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