Life is incredibly hard at times. We all have moments where we really get this, but there is a 7 year old boy named Ranjeet living in Chennai, India who understands this better than many of us. Ranjeet was born into deep poverty. One can try to write this poverty down through statistics or charts, but no one can truly know it until they see it. Until they walk in the dirt and the trash. Until they smell and taste the reeking air. Until they see the hard work dripping from the back and brow of fathers and mothers trying to provide. Until they feel the cement floor called a bed. Until you are sitting in a home, maybe ten square feet in all, made of some straw and cement, looking eye to eye with these people, knowing the home you go back to, until then, it is hard to think we know any form of hardship or poverty quite like this. This was the life Ranjeet found himself born into. Shortly after inheriting the hardship of poverty, one year into his life, the unimaginable happened. At age one, Ranjeet lost both of his parents. He hadn’t spent more than a year alive, and now he had no Dad and no Mom. This is the kind of stuff that makes people shake their fists in the air and scream, that a beautiful little one year old boy would have to face life on his own in the depths of poverty is an outrage. This is hardship. This is suffering. Yet in places like Ranjeet’s village, this is not uncommon. This is the true pain that the hope venture’s feeding center finds itself in the middle of. In the midst of the difficulty Ranjeet found himself in, he also found a little glimpse of hope through this feeding center. Ranjeet was able to get a consistent daily meal, care and prayer from men and women who love him, even sometimes a place to lay his head at night. Yes, life is incredibly hard at times, but in the midst of hardship hope can find its way in.
The hope venture’s feeding center in Chennai is a small building, maybe 15 feet wide by 40 feet long and 20 feet high. It is almost completely made of cement, combined with some metal material you would use on a shed. Oh and it is blue, very blue. There isn’t much to this building, except that it rests in the midst of a suffering and needy people. The thing is, it isn’t about this building that makes this place so special, it’s about the people inside it. It’s about a man named Sunder Singh riding his two wheeler through the streets of the village picking up four or five kids at a time to make sure they didn’t forget to come to the center that night. It is about parents and leaders who pray for and care for the kids, not wanting to see them suffer anymore. It is about kids like Ranjeet and Mathi, kids who lost both of their parents who would have had no place to go, but found hope there. It is about girls like Epsi and Saranya, brilliantly intelligent girls who would have had no motivation to fight the holds of poverty, but were encouraged to dream, and now have a bright future ahead. See this center isn’t just about a building. It is a community where hope can be found. To many, this center has provided everything they need even in the darkest of times, and for that they are very thankful, very thankful for this small, blue, cement building.