Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Children of the Slums

Tuesday, July 19, 2011 at Deenbandhu School from 9:00am until 2:30pm. Five-hundred and fifty kids from the ages of three or four to seventeen greeted us.
A group of us interns travelled accross town to one of the poorest parts of Delhi, India. We piled onto five bicycle rickshaws, after long metro and auto rides, which took us into the streets of a very shocking sight. The roads composed of mud, water, broken bricks, and flies. Dogs, cows, and goats walked around with visible bones as if they were skeletons. The smell was the worst, a mixture of feces, urine, rotten food, and decay. The houses were nothing more then shacks or bricks compiled in odd shapes that ressembled a shelter. I could sense the disease and the pain that laid itself over the people of the town.
At the school gates, everyone was anxious to meet the children. We could hear the laughter and screaming or yelling of children as several AIESECers brought them joy with simple high-fives or a shout of greeting. The students of AIESEC in Delhi University who are involved in Project Udaan are the most generous and passionate people I have ever met. They have an energy that fills their surroundings. They speak of the project with so much love that I hope I care for it in the same way. When I see them working from morning to night on this project, never seeming to tire it gives me more hope that inspiration will lead to change.
The school was no more then thirty metres squared with a mud yard mostly filled with water and a few metal bars as their play area. The walls of the school were rotting and the heat pulled us down at each movement we made. The windows were made with bars and some classrooms had the children all sitting on the floor without desks for the long day of learning. The fans of the classrooms were only turned on as we arrived, which I hated to notice, while the kids wore long sleeve shirts and pants as uniform. Their clothes were covered in dirt as squatting or sitting in the dirt playground was their mode of assembling or doing school work at times.
This day was beautiful in my eyes. The younger children were shy but we could still see a small smile as we failed to communicate with words but gave each child paper and pencil crayons to make a work of art. The older ones ran to our hands to shake them saying HIIIIIII as loud as they could. Some of our guys would have five children jumping on their backs and holding onto their legs. The kids showed the most energy I have ever seen, dancing and jumping around to the music we played, banging the walls in excitement, yelling as they climbed the window bars. A simple game of throwing a plastic ball at a waterball to knock it over had thirty children scrambling to get in line for the simple gratification of knowing they could do it. Later that day, I was sad to see that hitting was still amongst the school system here, the younger boys who recieved slaps to their faces reacted as if this was a regular routine.
They loved to be in our pictures as much as they loved to use our cameras to take pictures. Technology is rarely seen in this part of town and they jumped at the chance to have a glimpse of their own masterpiece. As soon as I started playing hand-clapping games with the little girls they would not let go of my hands. A few girls pulled at my hands and tried to bring me to their classrooms, only letting go when a teacher scolded their actions. Another couple little girls wanted my phone number so badly even though speaking to them was barely accomplished. I think they just wanted a piece of us to bring back with them to remember this one day amazing day.
After feeding them all as much food as we could, the heat clung to our weary bodies. The AIESECers here have an amazing point of view towards the work they do, they believe in giving everything they have for the time that they are working towards a goal of changing lives and at the end of working for as long as necessary despite exhaustion they get together and enjoy eachothers company. I thought this would mean sitting an relaxing, but not really for them, they were jumping around in unison doing AIESEC dances and pulled at our arms to join.
A beautiful day.
Wednesday, July 20th, 2011. We meet with the forty children who we will be working with :)

1 comment:

  1. That's exciting! That you get to meet your kids today. But the rest of it, wow, my eyes teared up. That does sound beautiful... and the energy that the kids had, so happy to see you, that's really touching. I love reading your posts! I hope you don't mind that I post it on Facebook every time you post lol... They're very inspiring stories to share! And they're making me want to do something similar... keep at it! Did you give Kaitlyn your address yet? We want to send you something! Also, what do you suggest would be the most useful/realistic thing to send for all 40 kids? Nothing too big either... I was thinking bandanas/scarves... but maybe that can be a symbol for gang, depending on the colour. Let me know!

    Love from Canada! xoxox

    Vanessa, and family