Chunking & children

We survived the typhoon! Just a bit of wind and a lot of rain…

Tuesday & Wednesday we headed to Chungking Mansions, a massive crumbling building in the heart of downtown TST. The bottom floors are packed with South Asian and African immigrants selling everything from curries to cell phones. We joined a group that daily opens its doors to the down-and-out, offering them a home-cooked meal, a listening ear and a chance to discover more about God. Dan just sat and hugged a homeless Indian man high on drugs.

Thursday we painted a flat at the YWAM Hong Kong base, where we’ve been staying. They are in a little village way out in the New Territories of HK. It’s a whole different world from the HK I’m used to. The village mostly consists of ugly tiled pink or yellow apartment blocks about 4 stories high. For a village, it’s still quite densely packed, with a maze of narrow concrete pathways. But lower down, often in ruins, are beautiful old traditional houses of black brick with terra cotta roofs. It’s tragic how many of them have been left to crumble, but thankfully about 10 historic buildings in the village were recently restored. The contrast of old and new and the values placed upon tradition versus modernity bring up so many questions. Questions of beauty versus utilitarianism and how tourism intersects with cultural traditions… But I love exploring these crumbling ancient abodes as I ponder these issues.

Saturday was a crazy day working with a group of about 20 Nepalse children that ranged in age from 3 to 13 (and two autistic teenagers). We were crammed into the tinniest room and managed to keep some semblance of order to our actives for 2 hrs until chaos broke out and we headed to the nearby playground. Let’s just say the Nepalese aren’t known for their discipline. It is so different doing children’s work here, as opposed to the States or UK. In the UK you need a background check (CRB) before you can begin working with children. Then there are a million rules you must follow: never be alone with a child, never leave the children unattended, only their parent can pick them up and the end of the session, and on and on. Here, the kids are on their own all day Saturday since their parents are working. Most of them drop themselves off and come and go as they please. A 7 year old girl was in charge of her 6 and 3 year old brothers for the day. So when I announced we were going to the playground, some ran out the door immediately. And when we headed back up to the room, the youngest of them remained on the playground unsupervised, which was fine with me because it was a lot easier just working with the older kids!

Later that evening (after a slurpee & some retail therapy), we joined up with the ministry again to pass out food parcels to the homeless. We had a really tremendous time, visiting the 30 or so men who live under the overpass in the Jordan area of HK. The men were all very receptive and despite the language barrier, we enjoyed a pretty good level of communication. We also got a chance to pray with some heroin addicts who live on a filthy mattress in a dark stairwell. The best part of the evening, though, was when a Chinese woman saw what we were doing and was so touched she came and joined us. None of us spoke much Cantonese but she introduced herself with a huge smile and then exclaimed, “Let’s go!” I haven’t seen so much energy & enthusiasm in a long time!

And tomorrow we head further east for 4 weeks! Do keep us in your thoughts & prayers!

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