What's it like to serve a rural forest community in India?

By: Ajitson Samuel Justus, World Vision India Communications

Living in the middle of the forest may not be something new if you were born there. Generations are spent acclimatizing to the weather conditions, getting used to the long walking distances and living without electricity.

But what if you were not? What if you grew up in the city all your life?

 Kherring is a World Vision field worker who answers these questions with the story of his life. 

I had been assigned to produce a short film about a family involved with a World Vision programme in a distant corner of northern India. When I arrived at the project, I was greeted by Kherring who turned up with an axe and a shovel. “Let's go,” he said.

Earlier that day he told me that rains had washed down the mud roads and a few trees had fallen in the path that leads to the family. 

“We will shovel our way through,” he told me. I laughed because I thought it was a joke.

The jeep took us through the jungle and whenever we encounter a mud slide, Kherring got to work on his own. Mud and sweat started to fly and a few branches were torn down, just enough for the jeep to pass through. 

Later that day he told me that to reach the families that he serves, he takes his motor bike and ventures into the jungle. If he finds an impediment of some sort he parks his bike and walks the rest of the way. 

He lives in the community where he serves, and through sponsorship he works towards the well-being of 300 sponsored children and their families.

He is currently working on programmes to combat high levels of malnutrition, to increase awareness on good health practices and to increase livelihood opportunities for these families.

Kherring lives in a mud house, with a thatched roof and a few solar panels. The solar panels give him enough electricity to power an LED light bulb and a fan. He pays rent to a village elder who has become a good friend; they share a feast with pork and rice once in a while.

Kherring is one of many World Vision staff in India who live with the community they serve and lead a life of sacrifice.

I ask Kherring how he manages to overcome the various challenges that he faces. 

“There are some challenges like access to roads, but I try to cope and try to enjoy my work,” he says. “I really like to be here in this area. I love to be with the children and work with the community. I could identify many issues and problems. I will do my best to bring some changes in this area.”