My stay in Hyderabad was a mere 5 days, but it seemed so long! It feels a little weird being back to ‘modern’ civilisation and being faced with the usual pressures in life. I just discovered that my results will be released soon, and it does not help that I am clueless about the general comments given about an assignment for my least favourite topic in Law School.
The church mission trip brought us to various Good Shepherd schools helmed by OM ( Operation Mercy Charitable Company). Click on the link to find out more about this elaborate and amazing organization that has made a profound impact on the Dalit community in India!
If there was anything that touched me most, it would be the fact that the children loved learning and had an insatiable appetite for knowledge. Need I also mention that the people there are not camera-shy or camera sensitive? In fact, the kids were clamouring over my camera to get a glimpse of themselves in my photos. Gosh, it was quite an experience!
The first school to visit on the agenda was Jeedimetla DEC ( Dalit Education Centre) which is within the main OM headquarters itself. Kids here were the most educated out of all the places we went and were arguably more well off. It’s probably because resources are the most abundant here, it’s the headquarters of OM afterall.
While the adults were busy chatting with the staff of the school after a hectic morning of performances, lessons and games, I naturally gravitated to the open area to see what the kids were having for lunch
They sat in open circles under the hot sun.
Lunch was a simple affair of basmati rice and curry inside little tiffin boxes. No utensils were used, just their bare hands.
I saw different varieties of curry used, like this one had bits of corn kernels inside.
We also headed down to Rasoolpura Slum where OM was running a small Good Shepherd school.
There was a short performance put up for us with the older kids dressed up beautifully in colorful saris.
The younger kids had a field day playing with the balloons that we twisted for them.
Innocent joy (:
This little kid was not from the school but she stood at the gate leading into the small school compound. Hopefully her parents will let her come one day!
At Udamarry DEC we were given a red carpet reception complete with drums and all! Our church is heavily supporting the works in this particular offshoot of OM located in a rural area.
Some of the younger kids were busy examining the little packet of yupi gummy bears that they got.
I also noticed these little baskets that all the kids had containing their lunch. I think the school issued one to all of them, isn’t it cute?
The poorest of all the places we visited was Bommarasipet Slum. We served the kids lunch and boy were they ravenous. It was touching to see an older brother crack his papadam into tiny pieces and feed his little sister. There was also a young girl who kept her papadam for her family instead of enjoying it for herself.
I can’t imagine what happens when this place rains…
Mosquito nets sponsored by our church members were distributed to every student for all the schools we went including here in Bommarasipet Slum.
We danced, sang and played games under a tree literally. It was fun though. Especially when the kids got into the groove!
Our church is planning to extend more resources to them and hopefully, things will be better when we are back 😀
It was a really meaningful trip, a timely reminder that I should not belittle the opportunities that I have been given in life. The caste system seriously discriminates against Dalits and the problem is further exacerbated for women who already have a lower status in society.
There are more photos to come, and of course a post to be dedicated on two particularly memorable meals there. Every non-Indian cuisine was really bad but the Indian food was generally acceptable and sometimes pretty good. Prices are incredibly affordable- they range from 6-13 Sing Dollars per pax in restaurants, imagine that!