“Why here?” Many ask before I go. “It has to be such a hard place.” And it is.

But beautiful. Never have I seen the contrast of evil and good so starkly represented, as in India.

This quote is one I’ve reflect on for some time and continue to:

Here is a quotation from a book by Margaret Hebblethwaite introducing her readers to the ideas of empowerment and liberation. It uses a simple but powerful story that is worth further reflection:

… it is essential that the rich change their mentality, from the paternalistic ‘doing things for the poor’, to the respectful ‘doing things with the poor’. The message was well summed up in a little mime I saw done by a group from Dutch base communities: a man stood on a chair, and tried to pull a woman up from the ground. She would get so far up, but then be unable to stand and fall back to the floor again. After several attempts to raise her, the man changed his tactic. He stepped down from his chair and went down to her level. This time the two rose together, slowly, each one helping the other, the man helping the woman, and the woman helping the man. At last they both stood up straight side by side.

Hebblethwaite then offers a poem written by an Aboriginal Australian woman:

Growth not decay

If you have come
to help me
you are wasting
your time.


If you have come
your liberation
is bound up
with mine
then let us work

[From: Margaret Hebblethwaite, Base Communities: An Introduction, 1993]

Is your liberation bound in the freedom of others?


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