On January 20th of 2017 Tanya posted on facebook that she had arrived in Kolkata and that she thought the most harrowing part of Kolkata..."is the taxi!!!!" For her dinner, she ate snacks that she brought with her on this journey. She reported that: "The place is crazy thousands of people and it's like 10:15 at night, but it is a Friday night. We passed Sisters of Charity...like 10min walk at the most! Yea, thanks Madhi Raju. Nice bed, air conditioning, internet- what more can one need, except maybe, a bit of sleep!?!"
...scratch that..."They actually just moved me to a basement room saying it was a mistake and that room was rented out tomorrow. This one is a bit smaller, tucked in a corner but actually cleaner with more closet space and a smaller TV (which I don't watch anyway), air and fans work...I'm good!"
"Crossing the streets is totally taking your life in your own hands! Goes honking 24/7...and people drive extremely fast all the while blasting their horns to get through crowded streets, no sidewalks on side streets and on the main sidewalks homeless and dogs just lie down randomly! It's amazing!"
"It's amazing to think that 4.573 million people live in Kolkata-people are EVERYWHERE! I don't think I could ever get use to all the horn honking, everyone has some kind of a horn...perpetual headache...kid you not!!!
Tanya explains that some of the smells are extremely overwhelming. She said she had experienced something similar elsewhere, but much milder in comparison, from a totally plugged-up outhouse.
"This is a huge dumping area of leftovers and food products for the cows. This poor woman has her bag and a shopping through for leftovers. Suddenly my peanut butter is looking even better for dinner!"
Tanya noted, "I have a HoBo bag that hangs around my body and a waist belt for important stuff but I find this place extremely safe, poor yes but truly safe and I don't think I'm being naïve." In fact, Tanya says that the people here are really nice, that they will hold out their hands toward you, but they are not begging, rather they seem to be greeting you, and when you say hello, they will say hello back to you.
This is the way Tanya's journey begins, going to Kolkata, the place where a saint has been. This post is about the surface stuff that one initially takes in with the senses. This is Tanya's Kolkata, shared with us as she experiences it.
On this pilgrimage, Tanya spends one full week giving of herself in service to others as assigned, following in the footsteps of Saint Mother Teresa. Time will reveal a much deeper journey takes place for those who touch our Lord in the distressing disguise of the poor than the one of traveling a great geographical distance like a tourist for an adventure. You cannot touch Him, without Him touching you.