Saturdays is Shani Daan day and all our kids were walking around with bowls of mustard oil with a steel man who I am told is supposed to be the Shivji from Hindu mythology. Shani Daan works well for us because by the time we reach for class, the kids have earned enough in the mornings and so spend more time with us. On the flip side, we left with mustard oil all over our paint boxes, art sheets, our tables and sitting mats!
There is interesting art work I have gathered from today’s class and will upload these tomorrow. Later in the day, I visited the school where we have pitched our tents for migrant people and surprise surprise! The families have all left from there and I find them back on the street with their kids and things. Turns out, they are not comfortable leaving their things behind in the tents when they leave every morning and it is too much effort lugging the stuff from Parade Ground to the school each day and so they have returned to the streets again. I have to say I was taken aback to hear this- I mean what is a little inconvenience if you have a nice shelter for the night, right?
But here is something I learnt today: A roof to cover the head is an insecurity of the resourceful only. For the homeless, home means nothing. This fact again highlighted the importance of understanding the world of the different groups that we work with: migrants, street children, slum children and others. What is it that draws them to the streets; to this life which, in our eyes is precarious yet for them is so bewilderingly natural? Until we are able to look at the world from the point of view of the people we hope to help, I fear we may just be gratifying ourselves with the ideas of what is good and right.
However, I do not write this post in frustration. I write it in fascination of the events that unfolded today. I am now convinced, more than ever that there is a need to live among the people, to spend time there and to understand everything about their lives, their minds and their thought-process to truly understand how one can best intervene. We have to step outside of the limitations of our minds and lifestyles to understand the nomadic and wild-spirited existence of our people.
On a more positive note, I am happy to share that one of the set of parents we counseled, on the importance of education for children has expressed interest in enrolling three children to the school and we are returning tomorrow morning to ensure that happens!
To many more days of the same new then! 🙂