We Hired An Ambulance

How long do we wait for “something to happen?”  We hired an ambulance to take us to Aunty’s, pick up the sickest children, and take them to CWC.

I insisted we take them into the building.

The waiting area was interesting, as usual.  The kidnapped girl was there again, and she really smiled when she saw me.  The adoption people were back, this time with a mother whose husband had died.  She was giving up her two children so they could have a better education.  The little one in her arms was about two.  The older girl looked about ten or eleven.  I tried to figure out how this agency was going to insure their education and “better lives”.  These were the same people who had given Aunty two children with disabilities, and they had stopped paying sponsorship.

We were called into the room.  The Committee was clearly uncomfortable with the children there.  They kept saying, “The children should go out.  They will be happier, and I in my cheerful little way said, “Oh that’s ok, they are fine.”  We were there about three hours.  Many phone calls were made.  The Committee said we would have to take the children back to Aunty’s.  They were quite horrible to Aunty, but they had no solutions other than sending the children back home with her.

Maggie tries to tell the CWC that 25 years ago she was this child, but they aren’t listening. 

I  asked the Committee, “Are you saying there is no government place for children with disabilities?”

“No, there is no place for these children.”  I was shocked at this admission.

I said, “But you are the highest authority.  What do we do?”

They told us that in a week there would be a large delegation of legislators planning to visit Aunty’s home and they should give funds.

“But what if they don’t?  What happens then to the children?”

One of the Committee members seemed to get it.  She was back on the phone.  I was asked to make a plea to the Sister at Mother Teresa’s.  I did.  Two children would be accepted there on a temporary basis.  I chose the two weakest, thinnest, and sent them in our ambulance.   Seema and Aunty took them to Mother Teresa’s, but just for a temporary basis.   We waited around as more calls were made.  Bijoy watched some of the children out in the hall.

Soon another group of people showed up, a kind of rescue group, and they arranged for the child with the head infection to be admitted to a hospital.  So one group went in their big ambulance back to Aunty’s.  Bijoy took our group home.  Seema and I went in our ambulance to the hospital with the sick boy with the head infection.  This evening Seema and I went to see him in the hospital.

We aren’t sure where he will be going when he is better.

Shishur Sevay at the End of the Lane

It has been hard explaining exactly what is the trouble, and why we have to move, but we can still stay in the general neighborhood.  So I made a picture.  When I was a kid I spent hours and hours drawing house plans.  I’d browse magazines of house plans.  I’d imagine common space and individual rooms.  I liked simple designs, “L” shaped… So I went online last night to look at house plans and ended up downloading a trial version of SmartDraw.  I took a landscape template and spent much of today making a picture that represents our situation.  In a way, working on the diagram has been an escape, a meditation on our situation.

We live at the end of the lane.  The houses in RED represent threats to us.  House A monitors all visitors and staff, listens to people talk as they go by, comments on the children, and eventually repeats all he hears to whomever will listen.  He is a man with political power.  As I wrote below, none of the other men will come past his house to help us. 

  END-OF-LANE4

Then there is House B, a partner to House A, who also rents out shacks in the area, and thus he controls the tenants.  Recently he opened a tiny store right next to Shishur Sevay.  The music blasts through the neighborhood, so even people who would otherwise talk quietly outside are yelling to each other.

Once out on the road our situation is better, and probably as good as it might be anywhere.  We are known, and respected.  We shop at local stores. Our girls go to school and meet other local children at the bus stops.  I am often referred to affectionately as “Mother Teresa of our Area.”  It’s really funny.  We have a good relationship with the rickshaw wallahs, as I have helped some of their kids, and I always tip well.  If you take a rickshaw from the nearest major road and ask for “The foreign lady with the children,” they will take  you right to our house.

How did we get into such a mess?  Well, House A has a small fan factory in his ground floor.  The owner of that factory was someone we knew for years and trusted.  He is the one who showed us the house, and when I went to see it and walked past his little factory in House A, I thought how nice it was to be close to people I knew.  I wasn’t alone in this.  The rest of the Board thought it was fine too.  You don’t have to be a foreigner to be fooled.

I want us to stay in the neighborhood because Gibi and Seema are close by and they are our support, the ones we call if we need help, if I have to take a child to the hospital, if I am sick — they are part of our DAILY lives.  They too are part of the neighborhood and their presence and support add to our security — except at the end of the lane.  They can’t help us here BECAUSE they are part of our support.

The girls have had a good day, a mixture of schooling, story telling, dance, and now TV.  The radio outside is blaring but I don’t even try to do anything as we will be moving.  I’m also working on a wishlist of what we want/need.  We need space, accessible space.

I was going to save this for another blog, but here goes: 

 SAFETY AND PROXIMITY TO THE CURRENT LOCATION

    • IN SAFE LOCALITY
    • PLOT BOUNDARY WALLS
  • HOUSE — STRUCTURALLY SOUND FOUNDATION, WALLS, ROOF 
  • WATER SUPPLY
  • ELECTRICAL SYSTEM GROUNDED FOR MODERN TECHNOLGY
  • PLUMBING – SANITATION 
  • ACCESSIBILITY
    • FROM OUTSIDE
    • WITHIN HOUSE
  • HOUSE – MUCH OPEN AND COMMON SPACE, WITH MOVABLE DIVIDERS 
    • 1500 SQ FT GROUND FLOOR
    • CLASSROOMS AND REHAB FOR HANDICAPPED CHILDREN –LARGE SPACE WITH PARTIAL DIVIDERS-MOVABLE 
    • OFFICES
    •  KITCHEN AND PANTRY
    •  DINING ROOM
    • BATHROOMS
    • MEDIA ROOM AND LIBRARY
  • 1500 SQ FT FIRST FLOOR.
  •     DORMITORY SPACE
  •     DRESSING ROOM
  •     CLASSROOMS
  •     SUPERINTENDENT’S ROOM
  •     LAUNDRY ROOM
  •     SUPPLY ROOM
  • Roof
  •     laundry lines
  •     play areas

     Garden

    •  play area
    •   covered jacuzzi

              RABBIT HOUSE

Today I learned that the girls were worried about Jelly our dog and also our rabbit — would we take them?  I told them the story of how I once bought a battery operated aerating travel tank to move my angel fish from Boston to Pittsburgh.  I told them Jelly will come with us.

That reminds me about the wild dogs who live outside and howl all night.  The post office won’t deliver mail here because of the wild dogs.  Letters are left at that “friendly factory” for us.  Sometimes I carry a cane or umbrella just to keep the dogs from us.

You know, it really is bad.  I worry sometimes about just being a wimp.  Well, maybe I am but it’s time to wimp out and get my kids and me to the other end of the lane.

It’s ten and I’m heading for bed.  The girls are watching TV as it is Saturday night.  A few nights ago I went to bed and asked, “Is everyone asleep?”  I got several, “Yes, mummy,” responses.  So I asked WHO was asleep and the sleepers revealed their names,,,, and yeah, they finally got it and we all had a good laugh.  I love my life here.  It’s hard but there is nothing else I would want to be doing now in my life.  I just have to get us to the other end of the lane… HELICOPTER?

 W-Crowsnest_8535CR-psdWWeb-0101

Founding Principles

Childlife Preserve: Shishur Sevay

Founding Principles

From the beginning, May 2006

1.     We shall provide a safe, nurturing, healthy, educational and culturally rich environment.

2.     We shall develop each child’s education and opportunities in ways that build competence, confidence, and independence.

3.     We shall teach our children respect for others, irrespective of job category, caste, religion, skin color, gender, and age.

4.     We shall teach our children to be responsible and contributing members of the community, and to participate in the care of those less fortunate.

5.     We shall teach our children to respect and protect our environment.

6.     We shall give our children a strong foundation in Bengali language, culture, and history, so they may be literate, contributory, and respected members of the Bengali community and Indian society. 

7.     We shall teach skills in English and Hindi languages so as to improve their opportunities for participation, work, and education in India and the global community.

8.     We shall have fun with our children and share our lives with them.

Next Newer Entries

August 2019
S M T W T F S
« Aug    
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031
%d bloggers like this: