Wednesday, September 24, 2008

India Day 7 Fruit

I went to the train depot today. This is where the center finds a good number of the runaways that they help. This is also where I learned about fruit. Fruit is the street name for a potent mixture of industrial glue and a few other toxic chemicals. It’s cheap, it’s available, and it’s used by a lot of the children here in India. It is the street drug of choice. Darshan (the center director) and I, saw a group of children who were using at the station. Their eyes were glazed over and they had looks of stupor on their faces. They weren’t interested in finding help, they wanted fruit. We didn’t bring anyone back on this trip. I did however have an interesting chat with a nice fellow who shines shoes at the station. He was very kind and brought me some tea. Tea is the big thing here, I drank tea 5 different times today. Anyhow, back to the conversation. It was a bit rough because I don’t speak any Hindi and he doesn’t speak any English. I believe that the conversation went something like this.

“Hey those are nice shoes that you have on there. Can I see one?”
“Sure thing here you go.”
“They seem well made.” He says flexing and examining the sandal. “Made in America are they? My shoes are made in America too. See, here they are. How much did you pay for your shoes?”
“Um, in rupees, that’s um… like, 500 rupees.”
“Oh yea, they are much cheaper here in India. Oh by the way did you read that sign?”
“What are you pointing at, um a bird, um, wait, oh yes, the sign yes I just read it.”
“Yep, it says to watch out or people here will steal your stuff.”
“Ah, yes, hey, do you want something to drink, my treat?”
“No thanks.”

There was a new child at the center today and he loves to cuddle. He wants you to hug him and pat his head and to hold his hand. He is probably about 11 years old and when you go to walk away from he just smiles, reaches out, grabs your hand and pulls you back towards him. So, I hugged him and I held his hand and I rubbed his head until he looked like he was about to fall asleep. Every child deserves to be hugged and cuddled and loved. Every child deserves to be shown love. But here he was, alone and seemingly unloved. The boy who went back with his mother 2 days ago called today to say that he will be returning to the center. There is apparently a land dispute with in his family and his older brother has been beating him daily since his return. I know that life isn’t fair but these are things that I don’t understand.

I spent a good deal of today discussing the designs for the centers walls with the artist who is painting them. Have you ever tried to describe the color indigo to someone who doesn’t speak your language? I can’t even describe indigo in English. Anyhow, we got started on the walls. I’ve done 1,000s of designs and even though this may not be one of my best it’s sure to be one of my proudest.
Since I know how much everyone loves to hear about traffic in India here is today’s update. According to today’s paper India now has the highest rate of traffic accidents in the world. Why am I not surprised? I’ve observed that most of the cars here either don’t have side view mirrors or they have them pulled all the way in. They need that extra 12 inches to maneuver around rickshaws and buses. I have on occasion seen people pulled over by the traffic police but I can’t imagine what they could have done that was so much worse then everyone else behind the wheel. I did almost get macked by a bus today. The fellow that I was with gave him a good tongue lashing. Getting hit here can be far worse for the drive than for the pedestrian though. You see it, is traditional to pull the driver of the vehicle in violation out into the street and beat him.

Ps. We now have one more house mate, Jessica from Australia.

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