20140515-222155.jpgToday we visited an organization that works with the children of trafficked women for the commercial sex trade. Academically our students are here studying the issue of human trafficking, especially how it relates to Southern Asia…

The place we visited was in the heart of the Mumbai slums red light district. This small school and night center provides what often makes up the only refuge that these children have from the conditions around them. About 60 children gathered to make Macaroni art and bead bracelets with us, from ages 4 to 16. Most had never seen a white person before… Let alone an American.

They laughed and played with us for several hours. When I was not looking, the children would sneak up to rub my cotton socks; as I was the only person from my group wearing them and these children wear sandals… if any shoes at all. They sang local children’s songs and tried to teach us to count in Hindi.

One young boy asked where I was from. When I said Nebraska, he asked “What is that by?” Thinking of the nearest place he might have heard of, even though it is no where close, I said Chicago. Again he looked at me and said “Where?” I broadened my statement and said “the United States.” He looked at me and said “Which continent is that on?”

These kids live with violence and danger on the streets, mothers trapped in human sex trafficking, and the majority have been victims of the most heinous of crimes. Despite this, they laughed and played not unlike any other child I have watched play at home. They were quick with a smile and eager to share India with us.

They got together in a large group and giggled as we danced the hooky-pokie together. Several of the older children to thank us and invite us to come back every year…

They don’t receive many visitors.

When we left the school, our tour took us on a quick walk around the block. As we tried to cross the main intersection to walk down a slum lane, a local cop monitoring traffic stop and would not let us travel down the lane because of the danger to us; even as he let local women and children run by.

The stares that we got from the locals seemed to pierce right through your skin. As we walked back to the bus, I felt as though any of the hundreds of men lining the street could have jumped us at any second. There eyes and their posture made it clear that we were not welcome in their neighborhood. Without a doubt the peril of this place far exceeded any where I had been before. In that moment the immense weight of danger and fear that these children endure everyday came crashing down upon my soul.

As we rode the bus back to the hotel, I pondered how humanity could allow children to live in such conditions and turn a blind eye to their plight. They are laughing, loving kids just like my daughter. When I returned to my room, I did the only thing a rational person could…

I cried.
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Holy crap I am in India…
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I don’t have a lot of time to type today, but India has been a very interesting expire nice so far. Mumbai exists in both splendor and squalor side by side. When you first look at the streets, you are almost overcome with the amount of dirtiness, poverty, and run down looking buildings. It made me guilty to think that minutes earlier I had been complaining of being cramped on an airplane, when you see people sleeping in the gutters and medians of the highway; all within blocks of the most beautiful airport I have ever been in.
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After a while in the city though, you start to feel as of the land is a dirty wild place, and that despite thousands of years of civilization this land has yet to be tamed.20140514-071729.jpg
In fact, you start to feel Mumbai is lucky that they can keep any small areas clean at all.

Mumbai lives at an exciting pace, a ride down the road proves that. Yesterday we had an Indian supper with a family in their home, and learned about what God means to Hindus.

I wonder what I will learn today…20140514-072045.jpg

20140511-135441.jpgEric-ism: n An event or action that could only happen to Eric; Usually a highly unlikely or annoying event. Never a critical or life threatening problem, but extremely annoying.

Those of you who know me know this phenomenon very well…

I left work early to spend some time with Little E before I left. Friday afternoon we went to an indoor gym, Lost In Fun.

A coworker emailed me to tell me I forgot my lunch box a work. No problem, I think. I will get it tomorrow…

Saturday morning… Getting an plan to spend the whole day with Little E. A trip to the zoo, complete with pony and train rides. But first, I just need to stop by my office and pick up my lunch box…

We drive all the way to campus, only to release that I had packed my ID that serves as my door key in my luggage…

So sorry about that stinky lunchbox in the fridge AnnMarie. Have my wife stop by and pick it up.

Undaunted, Little E and I head off to the zoo. Ten minutes in, I squat down to help Little E feed some goats, and this happens…

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Awesome.

Little E’s solution: she grabbed the back of my shirt and pulled it down.

“It covered daddy.”

It was not.

An only fitting way to start a trip for me.

At least I made it through security and onto the first plane. And I am not on the no fly list! At least not until I post this…

And I made it to Atlanta okay.

More to come…

E

Yep, you read that right. India. Not Indiana…

Starting this Sunday morning, bright and early at 3:30 AM, I leave for 2 1/2 weeks in India. Thank god I am a fisherman and have gotten up even earlier to chase fish…

I will be accompanying a University of Nebraska – Lincoln study abroad program to Mumbai and Dehli India, as we explore the issues of Human and Sex Trafficking, as well as culture immersion at various landmarks of India.

Let me start by answering what has been my most common question so far:

No, I am not taking a fishing pole.

Even if my TenkaraUSA pole would pack nicely…

Our trip’s itinerary has been packed to the brim with all sorts of exciting opportunities. A trip to the Taj Mahal, an elephant ride, visits to Buddhist and Hindu temples… but no trout streams.

In fact, Google returned very few results of any fly fishing opportunities in India, and I could not seem to find any such thing as an India Fly Fishing Shop.

Yes, I looked.

Never the less, I am very excited to begin my trip. I will be using Flies Over as one of the main platforms to communicate with my friends, family, colleagues, and what readers remain after Flies Over’s moratorium.

I have been known to live tweet events in my life; and I don’t expect to have reliable internet access while abroad, so consider this my main platform for communication.

So follow along, and enjoy my trip to India with me!

And while I am gone, all my fishing spots will be undistributed… so I guess I should say…

STAY AWAY BECAUSE I WILL REALLY NEED SOME FISHING TIME WHEN I GET BACK!!!

Three weeks without fishing might be a record for me…

See you on the other side of the world!!!

E

The solitude…

Before my hectic summer begins.

More to come…

A valid question.

Well, since I last blogged, I…
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Won a fishing tournament…
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Built a jig and learned to make my own furled leaders…
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Bought a nice fishing flasher and became as obsessed with ice fishing as I am with fly fishing…
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And broke a fly rod…

That will get its own post later on.

I spent all this time doing things that I enjoy doing, but not sharing them. And I discovered that I really missed that aspect of my blog. I am starting to think that a lot of people read my blog not for the fishing, but to hear my words. That is the message that I took away from my grandmother. Writing a blog to a single purpose, can be mind numbingly restrictive; and I think that helped to burn me out on blogging too.

Flies Over will still be fishing heavy. I spend way to much time fishing and thinking about fishing for it not to be. But I think I will start to expand the topics out a bit more. I envision this next era of Flies Over Nebraska to be a blog written by a fly fishing writer stuck in the body of a higher education professional. Topics from any part of my life will be fair game.

You’ve been warned.

And I am going to India for work in a few weeks. So there’s that…

I am sure I am going to need an outlet for my creativity while I am there.

So welcome to the, what I think is the fourth, dedication of Flies Over.

Slightly less fish, more glimpses of a fisherman’s mind.

(You ought to love that, dd@dog.com)

In my last post, I declared that my blog was going to rise out the slumber of neglect. I even drew upon the mythical phoenix rising from the ashes to obtain new life…

And then I pressed publish.

Thank you for reminding me, WordPress, why my motivation faltered in the first place. I have already disable comments from non-registered users, since they were only spammers or (what they believed) anonymous goats. I had already abandoned looking at the stats page having realized that it is artificially drummed up. I had even come to an uneasy accepted of the random ads that I have no control over appearing at the bottom of my posts.

But as soon as I pushed publish, the spam followers started again…

I finally had to turn off all email communication from WordPress because every spam follower made me feel like my words, my posts, did not matter. As if I had created a platform on which I felt I had finally found a small audience to communicate too, even if it was mostly family and friends, only to discover that I had created yet another vehicle for society to commercialize, advertise, spam, and otherwise crush my soul. All of the parts of WordPress that I used to adore now stabbed at me and drove me away…

Within seconds of hitting publish, all of those spammey stabs came back.

That is, until my Grandma asked if there was something wrong with my blog…

She was afraid she was missing posts, that she was doing something wrong and could not access what I had to say. It was then that I realized through all the noise, clutter, and crap that WordPress makes me go through that there really are a few real people at the other side of the screen. And that I should ignore all that clutter and just write.

So, perhaps I should thank you WordPress, for reminding me of a very important lesson learned way back in creative writing courses in college. That a writer writes because that’s what they do. They write for the joy of it, because they have something to say. And it doesn’t matter if anyone listens… so I might as well turn all this crap off.

So off go the notifications, the emails, the followers, and the checking the stats page that was never quite accurate anyways. To hell with tagging and categorizing posts. Maybe I can find the will to write again if I stop caring about whether people read my writing. At least I know someone is…

Thank you, Granny!