We headed off for the day and started at Rasoolpura Slum. We’ll be shooting a bunch of scenes here. It is right by the old Hyderabad airport. OM has had a ministry here for over 15 years. 280 kids cram into this little school each day to learn English and about a God who created them in His image – something totally crazy for a Dalit to consider. Since they’re told from birth that they are worth nothing, less than animals, this thought that they are created in the image of God, is overwhelming to most of them at first. When that thought sinks in, the reality of it is pretty amazing. The kids sang songs and danced for us. Their smiles and joy is contagious!
From there, we headed for the dump – yet another one of our intended locations. It seems that no one really knows where the dump is. Our friend from OM didn’t seem to know. Our driver didn’t know. So, we did what you do in India. You pull over and keep asking people until you find people that “know” how to get there. This isn’t always very reliable. We ended up at the central dump in the middle of Hyderabad – not exactly where we were supposed to be, but the theory was good – if we follow a truck from here, we can follow it to the right dump outside of the city. This was good in theory – until we lost the truck. Now, if you’ve never driven in India, you may ask, “How can you lose a big, trash truck? We lost the big, trash truck. So, back to pulling over and asking for directions. After about 3 hours (and 33 kilometers, yes 33 kilometers in 3 hours), we found what we were looking for. You could see it from the road below it before we even got to it. The dump proved to be just as compelling as before – if not worse. Steven and Allan were both pretty shocked at the overall experience, I think (PIC 5 & 6). Is it even safe to bring actors here? Will we have to compensate them with “hazard pay?” These kind of questions, totally appropriate for their jobs on this film, hit me. People live here (PIC 7)…and we’re not sure that it is safe to bring actors here to shoot a few scenes in a couple of days! How is that for sobering… Our 3 hours journey home was quiet for a while as we reflected on what we had just seen.
On Monday, we met up with the other team from Friends Church. It was great to connect with them and to hear about their adventures in Chennai, Bangalore and now Hyderabad. We met up with them at OM and the school there was having a singing and dancing competition. Phil and Tammy Hotsenpiller (our teaching pastor and his wife) were asked to be the judges – not an easy job with so many talented kids! They also had a Science Fair for us to look at – experiments and “hands on” exhibits and all! It was pretty cool. We were also given access to a cooking fair – where various students had made their favorite dishes. I was pretty adventurous and the food was really good! Outside, several of the girls had made sand art on the dirt. So many beautiful designs. One of the other ladies from the team and I were asked to judge these designs. This one was our favorite – the student used flowers to accentuate her colors. It was awesome! That school, now three stories high (and still building) is changing lives and giving opportunities to children that only a few years ago, would have had no hope for a better future.
After our time with the other team, we traveled to Pipe Village. I’ve been there several times now, but I wanted Allan and Steven to see it as well. It was pretty quiet this time – most of the kids were still in school at OM and the parents were working at the nearby factory that makes the pipes. There were a few little kids running around and a few grandmothers there who were watching the kids. It was great to see that OM has set up a solar powered light for them. Although it is only one light, it definitely helps and allows them to see at night. It also gives a sense of security as well.