Garden of Flowers

I visited the Garden of the Flowers, which has Child Survival Program (CSP) and the Child Development Sponsorship Program (CDC). I wasn’t sure how far the place was, but Geeta took me on a rickshaw and it was only 15 rupees (30 cents) to get there. We went through the narrow road to get to the center. The center was located at the entrance of the slum. I was so surprised to see slum children whom I had only encountered on TV. They greeted me with lots of curiosity and smiles. They loved their photos to be taken, but I always asked “Tasvil, tike?” (May I take your photo?) as courtesy, surprised that I spoke Hindi.

The Child Development Sponsorship Program has 300 registered children. The program provides social, educational, spiritual, and physical development. The children come to the center at 1:30pm after school and have their lunch at the roof of the center. Often times this is the only meal they have for the day.

They get plenty of food and good food. They pray individually and begin eating. But over the rooftop, I saw the slum, where they live.

 After lunch, they attend classes at the basement. The staff teaches Hindi, English, Math, and Bible. At the bible class, they were reciting the verses from the bible.

The children also came to worship on Sunday. The service was 2 hours long, but they would sit in the crowded basement and was behaving well, singing and listening to the sermons and testimonies. Little children, as little as 6, gave testimonies of their faith. I was very impressed in spite of the fact I understood nothing they were saying in Hindi.

They would lift their hands in prayer and in worship.

 Girls with timberlines, praising.

For the Child Survival Program, I had the opportunity to join the home visit with the social workers. We visited pregnant mothers, lactating mothers, and babies between the age of new born to 3 years old. They had 50 registered mothers.
With a young pregnant woman. It will be her second child. They usually have about 3 to 6 children.

They are admitted to the program when they are at 4 months pregnancy. 2 social workers are in charge of 25 cases. They counsel mothers and teach them on prenatal topics. They encourage them to go to the government medical center (dispensary) for check ups and necessary tests. The breadwinner of these families maybe working in a factory or working as a rickshaw puller who earns only 100 Rupees a day, that is $2.00. I gave the girls who had helped me with the stay and I gave them 100 rupees as a tip, but to these girls, it is worth 1 day’s earning, that is like $80.00, so they were extremely happy.

I was very fortunate to be able to step into the slum quarter. They had water running, that was governed by the municipal. The pipes ran throughout the slum and they were pumped up.

Within the slum, they had small shops. There was the public toilet, a meeting place where they held wedding reception. It was really a community within a community.

I visited several homes. Some had their kitchen outside. You are lucky if you can own gas operated stove. The house was either 1 or 2 rooms. It was very dark inside. Only 1 exposed light, so it was almost pitch black during the day. But the houses are made so to shut the heat. They had no table or chairs because they eat on the floor. They only had a bed which occupied most of the room. Beds were of Queen size to accommodate two adults and perhaps a child.

 Some small kids had no pants on.

 The girl was checking the rice before it was to be cooked. Kids wanted their pictures to be taken. They stood in front of the camera, whenever I tried to take a picture.

Babies do not wear diapers, if they do, they wear a triangle shaped diaper. Most babies if they wet, the mother changes to a dry pants. They carry their babies at the side of their hip. You may notice, but I was told to cover the body lines, so wore the shawl, although the color really didn’t match, I had no choice. The ladies all wore beautiful sarees or panjabi outfits.
I asked the social worker about the crime rate, and they said that in the slum there is no privacy, ie. everybody knows about everybody’s business, so there is eyes everywhere, thus the crime rate is really low.