Tomorrow is our 1st parents meeting. From the beginning of the week, we have told all 16 of our kids that both their parents have to attend this parent meeting. If both parents do not attend, then we get assume that their parents are not interested in supporting this effort and thus we may have to drop those children who’s both mom and dad do not attend. Through these types of meetings we help continue to build our relationship with all the parents and families, develop a mutual sense of trust and understanding and enjoy some time together.
Today, all three boys from Shankarbhuvan Slum area: Dharmaji, Vishal and Vicky, said at least one of their parents would not be able to make the parents meeting. This was a little disturbing. So I went to all of their homes after practice to discuss and further understand why.
Vicky: His father, unfortunately is a drunk, as many slum dwelling male adults are. As I sat down in Vicky’s house, peeling garlic with his mother preparing for their dinner, she shared with me that it would be more embarrassing if they brought him along, because he drinks day and night. I told them that I would at least like to talk to him. So Vicky went by the river where he his father was drinking and called him in. We talk and I requested that he not drink tomorrow and come and share his time with us. He agreed, but let’s see what happens.
Dharmaji: His father was against coming, because he cannot leave his work. I requested that for just 2 hours out of the whole year, it would be worth if he can make it. His wife is out of town so we requested that he come with his oldest daughter. In the end, after, what felt like some form of bargaining, he agreed. Let’s see what happens :)
Vishal: Vishal’s dad was really sick lying in bed. So I told him to not worry at all. As I sat down to talk with his family, mom, father, brother and grandmother, the kids joined me. Vishal’s mom started feeding me tepla, hot and fresh off the stove. It was delicious. She was telling me exactly these words: “We may be poor, but we still make good food!”. Beautiful! We had a good time talking about the show, eating and joking around. I shared my tepla with Dharmaji, Vicky and Vishal as well. Oh yeh, Vishal got his slippers stolen yesterday, so he was wearing his brothers’ slippers today. A story that’s to be continued…
Our final stop was Dipmala’s house. She was making omelletes with her mom. Dad was still at work. Both of her parents have agreed to come tomorrow.
Man, the slum areas are really works of art and for some reason I sense and feel that more in the night as we’re walking from one house to another: The way its designed. How each square foot of space is utilized. The beautiful colors. The smells. The integration of animals and man. The warmth and aliveness of these type of areas. A beautiful and extensive topic for another day. But yes, this is where these kids live and it is a beautiful home!