Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Eashwaramma contracted chikunguniya and her body was racked with the chikun guniya post fever pains. She  contracted the fever after overworking herself by carrying heavy headloads of groundnut leaf for her cow through a whole day from morning to evening. Krishnaiyya  had offered it to her in exchange for cowdung, and she did not want to let the chance go. As she explained to me that other people would have asked for money upfront, and where could she get it.

I asked her why she needed a cow at all and said that we would manage the basic expense for her and her grandchildren. She explained to me that only if she had a cow, then in times of need she could ask money lenders for a loan ... as they would consider her loanworthy  as she would be able to sell milk. I had no answer to give.

With her body pains she is unable to do any work and Kavya, her grandchild, is getting
fodder for the cow, cooking, cleaning, preparing the decoctions for the grandmother - and then leaving for school ... and coming back and taking the cow grazing. \\
Eashwaramma then started asking me to find a good hostel for them, losing faith in her abilities. I was also unsure as Sasi was ten and running wild as the grandmother cannot control him. He can end up in bad ways in a couple of years if he does not have proper direction and discipline. We looked hard and long.  
SOS has good hostels, too good actually, far far removed from their simple minimal homes. In SOS the children are rarely sent home and are distanced from their roots so that they can own up SOS as their home. Seeing the close bonding the children had with their grandmother and village it did not sound fair. Government hostels are usually fairly useless places. Other upper class schoolsare there but  how will the poor dalit children fit in, even if kind sponsers are ready to support them. To anticipate how children who have had everything against them - dalit backgroud, utter poverty, death of one parent, abandonment by another, poor schooling, undernourishment -will adapt to a set of children far better off is very very difficult.
We ended up hoping that we would be able to organize some mentoring for Sasi in the village itself, and assure Eashwaramma financial assistance so that the children could grow up under the kind gaze of everyone in the village itself ...


I called up eashwaramma and spoke to her grandaughter. 'How are you Kavya ?'. 'Madam, every day you ask me how I am ... what new thing can I say ?' ... she was thrilled at her own cleverness at the reply !!

They all have cheek enough and to spare. Once something was cooking on eashwaramma's stove, and as i passed by she called out the customary, 'Come, sit and eat'. I checked out her vessel, and told her accusingly, 'you knew it was fish and that i would not eat'. She grinned, 'Eat and see. Lets see what will happen to you !'.

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