I've just come back from this visit, and decided to put down a few assorted thoughts....not a formal report, just things floating around in my mind.
The first thing which hit me when I entered was the assortment of smells which greeted us. We moved from room to room with our measuring tape, and I think the only word I can use to describe things is "pitiful". Not that it was a terrible place...I've seen homes which are worse....it is just that the thought of 40 odd girls living in such a small place (detailed measurements in our report, to be submitted tomorrow to CCL) ...and the fact that even though there was provision for so much, very little had been done with that (mainly due to lack of funds). For example, there were sufficient number of windows, but most of them had a wall outside, which prevented most of the light from entering in.
And then, there were the loos....no electric or natural light at all in them, no proper ventilation, and yes, naturally, they were smelling. I really don't understand how the girls are able to manage doing everything in the dark!
Three gas cylinders were out there in the passageway outside the kitchen.....in easy reach of little inquisite fingers.....and no fire fighting equipment in sight, something which was mandatory according to the rules.
Also, another hazardous feature (I feel like I am doing an advertisement right now) was that all the plug points were well in reach of the children!
For a solely Angrazi (English) speaking girl like myself, and a bilingual non-south Indian Suchita who didn't know Kannada, language, as usual turned out to be a swalpa (slight) problem! (Pramod was not allowed to enter any further than the front office...so the sole Kannada speaker was not at hand)
But hey.....with the patience of the girls and their matron, and our own blundering efforts, we did mangage to survive.....For example, when we were told "bisi thani illa"....well, we know what "illa" (no, or not) means...."thani", by means of hand guestures, we deciphered to be water....but what in the world did "bisi" mean???.....and then, the memory of "bisi bele baat"...a dish in the college canteen came up...what would food and water have in common......HOT!!....yes, that must be the meaning....and guess what! Turns out we were right!!! [Small step for man.....;-)]
A barrier in one of the measurements turned out to be a long line of cockroaches between a window and a cupboard (I'm not exaggerating about the line thing)....it had me yelling in excitement to Suchita..."Come see, come see!!!"....looking back at this about an hour later, I'm trying to figure out why I didn't run??? Again, I don't know how those girls manage! Maybe next time any of us head down there, a bottle of flit or something as a present to them might be useful....?
The girls, though were very friendly and helpful, as was the matron and the superintendint. One or two of them actually helped us with the measurements by holding the tape and such like, and we got asked by others, "ninne hesaru yenu?" (what is your name?)......some limited conversation did follow.......but unfortunately not much!
Tomorrow is Children's Day.......Happy Children's Day to all the girls of that home!! And hey, if any of you happen to go down there tomorrow...do take along a bag of sweets....I am sure that they would love them!
Signing off for now,