It’s nearly 4am on the eve of our flight to the other side of the world and Jon, his mother (Vicky), and I are finally just about to head to bed after a full, full day of packing, unpacking, rearranging, burning DVDs, buying meds, making photocopies, gathering camera equipment, finding boxes, losing boxes, and trying to squeeze in a meal or two.
I know that all of you guys have heard differing amounts of information on the plans and purposes of our upcoming six-week trip to India so I’ll try to give a brief overview here, by means of my first post, to set the stage for the updates that will follow regularly (hopefully). I’ll also just say that of the team of Americans traveling this winter and the countless Indian friends we will be joining along the way, I’m probably the least informed of the plans for the months ahead (so we will be learning together).
The trip has many purposes, all supporting and advancing the work of the Sigworth family’s foundation, Empowering Spinal Cord Injured Persons (ESCIP), in promoting disability advocacy throughout the world and specifically in India. More general information on ESCIP (including past projects, stories, and Jon’s 25-minute documentary, “More Than Walking”) can be found at the foundation’s website (www.escip.org).
About half of our time in India this winter will be spent stationed in New Delhi (the nation’s capital). Jon and I will be helping with SCI rehabilitation and wheelchair recreation at the Indian Spinal Injuries Center. We will also visit often with two of the paraplegics profiled in Jon’s film (Riya and Rahul) to follow up on their rehabilitation and lives in general. We hope to continue to document their stories and gather more footage to potentially be added to the film.
The remainder of the six weeks is broken into short (3- to 4-day) trips to a variety of cities throughout the county. In these cities, Jon, Vicky, and a handful of other friends will be speaking a SCI conferences, church meetings, hospitals, schools, workshops, etc to encourage improved SCI rehabilitation and to empower local religious and social communities to take the lead in disability advocacy. In essence, they will be speaking up for the needs of disabled Indians and hopefully connecting people to networks and resources in order to address those needs.
Here’s a rough calendar view of the trip for those of you who need some sense of big-picture organization like me (not that I expect these plans to remain unchanged):
Week 1 – New Delhi
Week 2 – Varanasi and nearby village
Week 3, 4 – New Delhi
Week 5, 6 – Ahmedabad, Junagadh, Mumbai, Hubli, Bangalore, and Visakhapatnam
So at this point the plan is: sleep, wake up, pray, finish packing, drive to the airport, somehow convince Air India to allow three people to check about 8 bags of clothing, donated medical supplies, camera equipment, and 5 donated wheelchairs (not to mention carry on 3 backpacks, 3 camera bags, and 2 more wheelchairs), get on a plane (4pm New York time), get off a plane (4pm New Delhi time).
Seems simple enough.
After that, I’m kind of in the dark. Our first days will be in New Delhi, getting settled and solidifying plans for the following weeks. One issue I’m unsure of is internet access, therefore I can’t tell you for sure how soon until the next post (probably early next week). So until then, we wish you all the best and thank you all for your support!
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.