Ealing author finds inspiration in India
I was invited to spend some time visiting and writing about the charity Oasis India (for which my nephew John Nonhebel was executive director).
At first, the thousands of people living on the roadside, sleeping on the central reservation of dual carriageways – and even in the road – seemed like an ocean of desolation.
But I was privileged to be given opportunities to meet and speak with slum-dwellers, street children, HIV widows, children orphaned by Aids, and girls sold into prostitution by slave-traffickers or even by their own relatives – and the sea of poverty took on names and faces.
I didn’t think those people would talk to me, with my camera and shorthand notebook, and didn’t blame those who were afraid.
But the ones who did agree to talk were amazing.
They accepted the invitation to have a voice, to speak to us in the Western world and tell us about their lives – and to help us to learn from them about dealing with stress and finding peace. If they could survive and find contentment, in their circumstances, then they had a lot to teach.
Publishers thought readers wouldn’t want to hear about poor people - but the people I met were not poor, except in the narrowest financial sense. I wanted these ‘voices of the voiceless to be heard: these are important people who have wonderful stories to tell. In an age when we realise the need to conserve resources, we often waste the most valuable resource of all - people - and let them sink to the bottom level of society.
All the author’s profits from ‘Finding Oasis’ will go to Oasis India, to help continue its work with the poor and marginalised.
Book Launch: The Pitshanger Bookshop 141 Pitshanger Lane Wednesday 8th September at 7pm. Refreshments Served
All author profits go to the Charity Oasis India.
September 1 2010