6.11.2012

The homes of the ones I love

It has been nearly 8 months since I first walked through the slum area of Lakhtokia. I had seen pictures of massive slums, this is one is small by comparison to the ones that pop up in major cities like Mumbai. Despite its small size, I was shocked at how many people could live in one space. I remember feeling almost like I was invading their privacy because I was so out of place and they live their lives in the open. I tried not to gawk but I was estimating how many children there were and trying to comprehend what I was seeing. Maybe it is because I have been there now so many times, their homes so clear in my head that I forget that not everyone knows or can visualize what we speak of when we use the word 'slum.' I guess my best description with words is that slum homes are made of other people's discarded materials. Some with tarps, cardboard maybe even some old metal siding. They are easily broken down, burnt and moveable if needed quickly (the government here randomly decides to raze slum areas, leaving the families without homes and no alternative place to go) Some have been built behind fencing that was there for the train tracks and they even form little alleyways and rows, it is actually quite organized when you take a walk through the insides of the rows.

Lakhtokia

Backside of two rows of homes

Inside a typical slum home

One of the downfalls of the otherwise awesome leaf plates is that they tend to leak a bit. The manager of the temple where we serve the food isn't a fan of this and tried to get us to go back to the aluminum containers. I say tried because it wasn't something I could really budge on so instead the solution is that the kids cannot sit on the temple grounds to eat therefore reducing the mess. I was walking sweet Mirna back to her home yesterday (the wee ones struggle with the big plates) when I was just washed with momentary sadness. What do they do when it rains? What if they fall ill with cholera or dysentery, unable to escape the monsoon water and the diseases it can carry? How do they sleep at night? What would they think if they saw my home? I don't know the answers to all of these questions but I know  we have an awesome group of pediatricians who would treat their illness. We have friendship and time together rain or shine. This is their home, it is what they know, it is where they are comfortable. So instead of getting totally lost in the sadness, I took a moment to sit Mirna down inside the four cardboard walls where she lives, placed her food on the makeshift table and became overwhelmed with thankfulness at being so welcome inside these homes. 

8 comments:

  1. You are so amazing. I know you are just doing what you need to do, but know that you are doing good and shining your light in this world so full of evil. You are doing a good thing and these pictures just break my heart. Because what would they think of my home? My accessible clean water? My fridge? My septic system? Totally puts into perspective how greedy we (I) am.

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    1. Thank Larissa. I try not to get down on myself and where/how I live in comparison with my babies, but decreasing my consumerism is a huge personal focus of mine. I truly feel that it takes all types to make the world go around, if there weren't parts of the world that are more developed and economically stable then who would be able to aide unstable countries or children in need? At the center of our individual worlds should be Love and so long as we keep our eyes on that, there is not a need for beating ourselves up even though I do it to myself time to time.

      <3

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  2. Wow!! I've read a few books that mention slums in India and tried to describe it, but it was really hard for me to get a visual. Thanks for showing us how others live. You're awesome, as usual!

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    1. <3 I am hoping to make a little video really soon... every sense is completely overwhelmed being there from the muddy sludge under your feet, the smell of the market and, well, waste, the sounds of the trains....everything... I wish each of you could experience it sometime. The kids would love it if you came over ;)

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  3. speaking of books, when will you be writing yours? The experiences you have had and your amazing writing ability (wonder where you got that from) makes this a must for you to do sometime in the future.

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    1. Maybe someday cousin! My dad definitely taught me to write stories and experiences down as they happen!

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  4. thankful to have found your blog. totally touching stories and also knowing what you got to see in India. We love India and the people and it breaks our hearts more than once everytime we got to be there and see so many kids, babies and families just on the edge of life. truth is, if we get home it does not last very long to be back in our own lives with what ever comes with it. we admire your work in india and getting inspired by your love and soul about what you do. keep on going and if you think there is something you need help with (and we might be able to help) don't hessitate to contact us. you never know.

    all the best from munich
    carmen and ingo

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    1. Carmen and Ingo-
      It is true, it is very easy to slip back into our lives, I do the same when I visit the states. I think that it is ok, but hopefully something carries with you, even if just the smallest change such as reaching out to us here and offering help! That in itself is amazing! Let me know if ever you find yourself on this great sub-continent again. You are more than welcome to come visit us up in the North East!
      In Love,
      Kristin

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