Another moving set of reflections on the experience of being in Chennai from Jan Potter:
We have been interviewing every day all morning and afternoon. The children have started arriving for after school club as we were finishing. The heat has been hard, even with fans going and windows open.
Yesterday it was even more difficult because there was a Hindu wedding so they had imported massive loudspeakers into the street to play loud music, which we were also competing with. There was also a concrete mixer machine going full blast laying the foundations to the new church building next door.
Our volunteer interpreters have been so helpful, but the number of volunteers involved in the whole project has been awesome to see. There have been volunteer teachers and helpers after school, helping with homework and supervising the children, ladies making a huge vat of food each day, which is transported a few alleyways (or are they streets), those serving, sweeping up, mopping the floor the next day, washing up (which means pumping water first).
There is a fantastic team of teenagers and young people who help every day, in return for their own meal after all the children gave gone. Personally I don’t think I would be able to have the same daily commitment, it’s hot, heavy work with.
You get used to hearing that there is one room for all the family members: I caught myself thinking that one family was well off because they had two rooms! There is no financial support available so when one mother told me her husband only had paid employment 2 days per week I asked how she managed. She has to borrow money from a loan shark when she has nothing left in order to care for the family, so she has massive debt problems. That story was heard frequently and sadly too a number of families have no father as he has committed suicide to escape the anguish of inescapable debt. The meal provided by the project really is a life saver on many levels.
We are all well, hotel an oasis of calm and clean towels every day!
Greetings to everyone.