I can hardly believe it’s been two years since The Weight of Silence: Invisible Children of India was first published. At this two-year anniversary, I have exciting news.
The Weight of Silence has just been re-released, as an all new Revised & Expanded Edition!
Much has happened in the nearly three years since I wrote the last word of the book, and sent it off to my publisher. I have been back to India twice, and the kids have grown. Changes in their lives have happened, and I have kept up with all of them. New work has been advanced in organizations like The Miracle Foundation and Vasavya Mahila Mandali.
The new Revised & Expanded Weight of Silence includes an additional Epilogue chapter, in which I tell you what has happened in those years to Santosh, Daina, Sumitra, Yesu Babu and many of the other children both myself and my readers have grown to know and love.
Tomorrow morning I board a plane headed for South Asia (first stop: Thailand), and I couldn’t be more excited. My boyfriend, Keith, and I are going to spend more than two months in Asia, including of course India, as well as Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand. We will arrive in Calcutta, India on October 21, and from there take the train down to Orissa to spend four days with my darling, beautiful children of the Sishu Sadan orphanage outside Cuttack. It’s been a year and a half since I’ve seen them, and my soul is already rushing out for Daina, Pinky, Salu, Babina, Rashikanta, Rohit and the other kids who stole my heart over five years ago, and started the entire journey of this book.
After that, we will meet up with the Miracle Foundation volunteer group at Sooch Village, to spend a few days with the kids who are living in that wonderful children’s village full of individual cottage homes, a school, and a great lunch-and-learn program for the children in the surrounding village. I will stay on with Caroline Boudreaux for several days after that, at Sooch and at Rourkela, where many familiar faces will greet me such as Amir and Sumitra.
I will certainly be posting from India, and updating you on the children as well as sharing photographs taken during the visit. So please come back to see how they are doing and how much they’ve grown!
Before I go, I also wanted to let you know about some recent exciting happenings with The Weight of Silence. On September 23 I was featured as a return guest on Conversations Live radio show. I appeared on the show last summer, after the book’s release, and host Cyrus Webb invited me to return to discuss the issues of invisible children, and what’s been going on with the book over the last year. It was a great interview, and you can listen here if you’d like! (15 minutes).
A great new review of The Weight of Silence was also published on Luxury Reading. In part the review reads:
Author, Shelley Seale, takes us on an emotional journey, showing us the lives of children living in poverty, toiling as child laborers, and those struck with diseases such as AIDS. In the modern world, children are subconsciously taught to take for granted many basic things. Children in the slums of India truly see some of these basic things as privileges and luxuries. This book is likely to evoke feelings of heartbreak and tears of sadness, but is ultimately one of hope.”
So bon voyage, and the next time you hear from me will be from India.
Today on CNN Asia, the Mumbai home page features my article as one of its main rotating headline articles.
The story, “India’s New Untouchables: Children Living with AIDS” tells my personal experience in a village outside Vijayawada, with families who have been devastated by AIDS/HIV. This was a place in which much of the middle generation was missing, wiped out by the epidemic; it was elderly people raising their young grandchildren – some of whom were HIV-positive themselves, in a wholly unnecessary legacy of destruction.
My visit to Yesu’s family, and others, was three years ago – but to this day, I have never stopped thinking about them. I can’t forget the way their eyes looked; beyond tears, just despairing, and struggling to survive.
This article is published on the eve of the International AIDS Conference, which is preparing to meet in Geneva. Won’t you take a moment to read Yesu’s story, pass it on to others, and visit the World AIDS Campaign to learn how you can impact the fight against this disease, which is so devastating for children.
My publisher, Dogs Eye View Media, also publishes many other books about volunteerism around the world. The Voluntary Traveler, for instance, is an anthology about different volunteer’s experiences in all kinds of global work; I am a contributing author.
Recently, my experiences with the children of India were featured on the blog, which you can read below:
Today, Nola and I also recorded a podcast about my experiences – stay tuned for that, which will be released next Tuesday, July 13.
And as always – happy volunteering!