stories

One of the best things about my job is that I get to explore so many parts of Indian culture that I would otherwise never see. A few of my centers are extra special, although I’d say I love each one more than the next. Today I went to a center where the kids have to take extra Arabic classes, which cause them to be late for the center. They also don’t have time to eat lunch, so they bring their tiffin (lunchbox) with them. They sat outside of the class and ate around a square table. The top piece of each tiffin was put in the center of the table. Each child put a handful of their food into each of the different tiffins. After they distributed the food, they retrieved the tiffin tops from the center of the table. Even kids who were late distributed their food and others gave them whatever was left of their food. I had to eat as well. I didn’t intend to eat but I had to convince two girls who didn’t have any food to come out and eat with the rest of them. They were taken care of, they got their own tiffin top that one of their friends shared with them. The amount of selflessness and community that these kids displayed was beautiful.
The teacher was late for our meeting today. She’s a very responsible young woman and it was not like her. She walked in and proceeded to tell us (myself and her coteacher) why she was at a police station. She was on the bus and offered a woman with a baby a seat. Instead of taking the seat, the woman asked her to hold her baby. This is quite common here. In Brazil people gave their bags to people who had seats on the bus. I don’t remember if people held babies as well. On trains babies are passed around, especially in the general class. Today, the mother happened to get off the bus without her baby, leaving her on the bus, in the teacher’s hands. After a few moments, the teacher noticed that the woman was no longer on the bus. She got off, went back to the last stop and inquired all around. She took the baby girl to the police station, had to fill out papers, a NGO was called to take the baby. Needless to say, the woman was traumatized. We’re hoping that the mother was just having a rough day and had a momentary brain lapse and forgot she came on the bus with her baby. The baby was a girl. We also thought it might have been a way to rid herself of the girl child. It’s a really sad thought to have, but it’s also something that might just happen. Female infanticide still happens. It’s in the paper all the time, people finding baby girls or doctors still practicing who might have been accused and convicted of killing female fetuses. This might have been another way to, in her mind, safely, rid herself of a girl child.
I just got news that the mother took her daughter from the police station. She went to the same one searching for her. This news was a big relief to us all. More to come about a fantastic birthday weekend.

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