So our fragile little house of cards almost came tumbling down today. We think that maybe the children have been painting for 6 days now and they need something new to do. Art is no longer engaging their minds, except for a few like Rajkumar and Naina.
The kids today were incredibly high today. They had all sniffed inhalants (primarily whitener solution that is usually splashed all over their clothes) and refused to listen to any of us. Rajkumar was sitting away from the group at a little distance and we were OK with that. However, another gentleman who has been hanging around, observing us decided to take offense at Rajkumar’s refusal to acknowledge our presence today. We don’t know what exactly happened but it seems that this (not so gentle)man said something to Rajkumar that led to an argument between them and this man then slapped our boy. The rest of us did not notice this except Nimmi Sharma who told Shaila what had happened.
Shaila gave this man hell for daring to touch Rajkumar and asked him to not interfere in our business. I was not there at that time but I can bet Shaila was nowhere close to so much politeness so let us assume the previous statement is a gross understatement of everything Shaila would have said to this man!
But coming back to our serious issue, Rajkumar saw our late entry into the scene as apathy on our part. He said that we had been sitting as mute spectators as the man dared to beat him and accused us of acting only when we absolutely had to. Which came as a shocker, I will tell you! What was worse, he walked off and that too, with the rest of our little group of kids in his wake. Well, bloody hell!
Thankfully, Dr. Dhirendra Sharma was there and with his soothing ways, was able to bring back Rajkumar to us, again followed by the other brats in his wake! But as the weary lot of us wrapped up the day, it seemed like the kids were just going wild and all over us today. They refused to listen to any of us. A few more episodes like this and we will be asked to take our Street Smart out of Astley Hall, by the shopkeepers.
Today’s fiasco brought forth realizations and more ideas for how to proceed forth. I personally look back at the week we have spent with Street Smart and cannot help but feel that we have been just splashing and paddling around up till now. Which is OK. But having had the hang of things and the tiniest semblance of what we are up against, we are now in a position to sit down and decide our work plan.
While unstructured classes are crucial to the success of Street Smart, we also now need to start building the perimeter-framework that will set the unstructured work into something meaningful. Also, we have to introduce new activities to engage those among our bunch who are not very keen about painting.
Creativity has to be at the foundation of everything that we do and here on, we start with a firmer resolve and clearer vision to rebuild our house of cards that will withstand the fiercest of storms.
No we do have a few ideas in mind but for now, it is not set in stone because honestly, with these children it cannot be set in stone. There is no help from the Government though we have one bureaucrat who is with us on this project. However, for us funds is not so much the problem as is engaging these children. Food we will provide no matter what. Not stepping back on this and I have to also share here that these kids earn at least rupees 150/200 everyday, if not more and they do eat lunch everyday. With us offering this lunch, they save the 15-20 rupees that they spend on their meal. We also need to offer food because they are not coming in without a bribe! For addiction, honestly nothing has been decided right now. I am preparing a board game that is fun and will also inform them about addiction, besides which I am trying to figure out if we can do puppet shows or story-telling with them, again based on addiction. Will need your help for that.We have roped in a child specialist who is going to do a complete check-up for all the children including blood tests etc. So this is where we start from. Let me know what you think about this plan.
🙂 Nah it is always good to have you pitching in ideas and comments to deliberate and discuss. For example, we decided that we are not giving food to people who are refusing to stay on and study after the meals so that is working in our favour now!I am also wondering about the role of a professional de-addiction counselor here. I was thinking along the lines of story-telling and games to put across the message of de-addiction or about staying away from substances but then would these work with the hard-core addicts among the children? For example, there is a 14-year old boy who consumes so much solution that his sister says his lungs will be glued together. In many ways, they also know the problems associated with addiction yet I think what you say about informing them without external and professional help may make sense. Will you find out if there are any such games or stories or activities that we can do with children? Thanks!