7.23.2012

Its 415am and I find myself struggling to fall back asleep. My thoughts feel like water torture, slowly drip, drip, dripping into my conscience.

The long travel ahead to the states, how hard will it be being so close but still so far from my family?

drip

I need to do more, to continue to push myself. Give more, find more time in the day, do as much as I can but how will I make it all work? I know I can put more on my proverbial plate, but it has to be distributed in just the right way so it doesn't come crashing down out of my hands.

drip

Is that newborn baby, born just on Saturday morning in the slum itself, doing okay? What about the mother?

drip


Will there be cockroaches in the kitchen if I go out to get water right now? What about a huge spider in the bathroom? A hornet in the dining room? Ants in the pantry? Why are there so many bugs?

drip


What is that rash on my little friend Sima's head?

drip

How is that little surgical patient from last week that was far too wise for his four year old self? And the older man from two weeks back whose wife also had surgery? I didn't see them in follow-up, I hope they are okay.

drip

When will I see my family again?

drip

How long will I live in India? Work at the surgical center? Work with the slum and street kids? How will I ever leave?

drip

Education

drip

Rehabilitation

drip

Malnutrition

drip

Child rights

drip

Street kids days

drip

NGO registration

drip

Teenage pregnancy

drip

Child trafficking

drip

Intervention

drip

Empowerment

drip

Friendship

drip

Love

drip

Change

drip

Push harder. You have to push harder.

drip

Each drop contributes to the waves of restlessness that toss and turn me in my bed. Feeling a little beaten upon the shore this morning but luckily these nights are few and far between. I know I am not alone in these 4am battles, what drips into your mind late at night? How do you combat it?

7.16.2012

Saturday morning after dosing out TB medicine and a protein shake to the mother in the slum, I partook in the usual walk with some of the children back to my bike. Most mornings I am accompanied by a few children holding onto either hand. Yesterday though I found myself with nearly one child grasping onto each finger and a trail of kiddos behind me. The little girl holding onto my pinkie exclaimed (in Hindi) to her friend "Her thumb, you can go hold onto her thumb! No one has it!" The friend scurried in front of the group, and triumphantly grabbed onto my right thumb. Off we went, teetering over the train tracks, through the muddy market and to my bike. Me and ten little ones, there's no better way to start the day!

7.15.2012

Pratyasha

It was raining again today so we relocated our weekly lunchtime picnic to a place a bit down the tracks where there is more cover. Since this was a new and more removed location I walked up and down the railway calling out the kids and showing them where to go. At times the rain was merely a drizzle but most of the time it was enough to require an umbrella. One of the little boys ran out of his home in his birthday suit with just a plastic bag on his head to protect his hair from the rain. I couldn't stop myself from giggling at the sight of him and his efforts to keep only his head dry. While walking with some of the children both of my sandals (aka chappals) broke beyond use. I had to toss them aside and go barefoot. Oh how the children and the parents worried about my missing chappals and exposed feet! I pointed out that most of them didn't have on chappals which seemed to appease their concerns. Their feet, however, are unarguably much tougher than mine so I resigned after some time to standing in one spot with my rain jacket covering me.

Quickly sweet little Muni came up and shared her umbrella with me. Soon one child became five; all of us huddled under the single umbrella, tangled arm in arm so we could fit without falling over. Sima looked at me and started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I sang along, she softly mumbled the words she was unsure of but got the tune spot on. We were both completely absorbed in that lullaby song from childhood, that moment together. Wet to our cores, muddied feet, dirtied clothes, a train roaring by just a few yards behind us.... a complete and utter mess but I don't think either of us would have chosen to be anywhere else right then. Just one of the many moments I could just get lost in forever...

In 2 1/2 weeks the new term starts at the school which offers an evening program for slum and street children. As soon as I return from the OS Student Leadership Conference I have been invited to come and see the program, what it offers, how it is run and then start some of the kids in the school. As mentioned previously, we will want to provide each child with a simple uniform. Right now that looks like it will cost around $5 per child but I don't know yet how many children will go. Today I talked with some of the adults, who really want their kids to go to school. They will talk with the other parents this week and hopefully I will have a tentative group by next Sunday. I love when the parents stand behind one of our endeavors, it makes it have that much more potential for success, for it to be pratyasha, a hope which comes true.


"A part of me, apart from me..."



7.07.2012

A change of names... we need your input!

Friends, I need your opinion! We are starting the process of registering the project with the children of Lakhtokia as a non-profit organization with the goal of obtaining 501(c)3 status ! Before we can do this we have to rename the project as "Asha" is already very widely used in India. We need something more unique! This is just a one question survey with the name options. Your input would be greatly appreciated as you all have supported us for so long! Sorry this is so short but the food has just finished up cooking and it is time to head down to Lakhtokia!


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7.02.2012

Street cred

Once upon a time, what feels like ages ago, I took this picture on my Diana Mini camera:


On that trip (my first, two Februarys ago) I definitely avoided any form of street food but just loved the little carts and peeking inside to see all they had to offer. Now it seems like nothing is too questionable (read: did I learn nothing from getting dysentery?) and I can't pass this guy up when walking through fancy bazaar. My treat of choice is usually aalu chat which means potato snack! They cut up slices of potatoes and top it with: tomato, onion, peanuts, green onions, two varieties of crunchy things, three different spices and a few unidentifiable sauces. It is incredible. 




You eat it off of sliced up business flyers (the shiny, thick kind) and then pray your stomach doesn't make you pay for your indulgences later. If you're extra lucky you'll happen upon a traveling temple on your way home, reminding you of the  peace mantra: Oṃ śānti śānti śānti, in which you invoke peace between your body, speech and mind. 


Saturday afternoons are fun around the city, browsing fancy bazaar and spending a total of 70 rupees ($1.25) on snacks and bindis. I think I lost about one liter of fluid from the mass amount of sweating I did but I rarely take the time to wander around the shops so it was worthwhile. Saturday evening a few of us went out for traditional North East food then I topped off the night with some roof top hang outs and M&M consumption! What a nice day it was!