This week (04/04/11 – 08/04/11) I have been completing a sponsored silence (original I know). You may think wow, five days of Barney Blake being silent…. and yes I am amazed as well but I do allow myself do have breaks in the evenings to let it all out and let my larynx continue to function normally. 😉
The silence has really opened my eyes though to the meaning of communication, to the importance of social interaction and to how meaningful/meaningless some of the things we say/do everyday are. For example, it seems so easy to say hello to people you know when you see them everyday and becomes part of a routine. Break that routine and it feels really strange and stopping basic day-to-day interaction has been quite tough. People may say that it’s just a sponsored silence and really it is not that hard but it has opened up my eyes to things that I never realised before. Trying to get your point across (as people may know I am sometimes a tiny bit opinionated) to someone without being able to communicate in a way you are used to is very hard. I have also had to slow down how I pace my conversations because writing down something every time you want to say something slows everything down.
This week has made me think about some of the people I met in Chennai last year and people I may meet again this year. The first thing is the language barrier that we face when working out there because we cannot communicate very well with some of the boys (especially the younger ones that I worked with at the Yellagiri camp last year). It is hard to want to make your presence known in a situation without blurting out your point of view. I have tried to contain many of my opinions and it has been a strange experience.
The second thing that came to mind in terms of how this relates to Chennai Challenge is the fact that I cannot communicate to other people by choice but some people who we may meet in Chennai may either have no one to talk to or just not have the knowledge to be able to communicate. We do meet some very lonely, poverty-stricken people who you can’t help but wonder that if the very kind people of Madras YMCA and Oasis India were not there supporting them, they would literally have no-where to go and no-one to turn to for help. Also, we meet people who have no-where near the privileged up-bringing we have in the UK and have not had as good an education or childhood. This leaves them without any way to make something of their lives and this is where we come in.
Chennai Challenge does not only go out and work in Chennai for a month in the summer each year and then for 11 months leaves them to settle for the poverty-stricken conditions we found them in. We work to create solutions for people to get their lives on track and to get them out of their poverty trap. The 11 months we are not there are as important as the one we are there for because that is when Chennai grows, through the YMCA and Oasis, creating opportunities and new starts for people who without intervention would have very little hope in their lives. This is what Chennai Challenge can do for people, start a beacon of hope in their lives by being a presence that they will hopefully remember as they work themselves out of the situation they are in.
Chennai Challenge can only do this through the continued support of everyone back here in the UK and this can be in any way you can. If you can give money, give your money. If you can give time, give your time. If you next year want to give yourself, I’m sure Chennai Challenge would love to take anyone and everyone to help in India. After all, they took me didn’t they. 😉
Thanks for reading this and I hope it wasn’t too long and that it made sense to people, I just didn’t realise how much a little sponsored silence would make me think. I don’t think very often, I’m a bass player. (apologies to any bass players who can’t take the wet out of themselves once in a while) 😛