Today we went to visit a few more of our school children. One of them was Sonu, a clever boy of the UKG who led us straight to his home. No wait, not straight – over the roofs of other people’s homes!
So we entered Sonu’s home from its roof and then climbed down the narrow stairs to their small courtyard which they share with the other subtenant of their house’s landlord as well as the landlord’s family itself. The house does have another entry – it’s just much more difficult to reach! Soon, we had gathered Sonu’s mother and two of his three brothers – the third one was showering at that moment.
Sonu’s father is driver, driving a private car and earning about 100 US-Dollar per month. The rent for that one room and the use of a toilet is nearly 20 US-Dollar. We ask Sonu’s mother if that leaves her enough for the household and other expenses. She smiles and says ‘We need to make it work, right?’
With four children, she explains, there are the clothes, the food, sometimes this and sometimes that. One constant expense is the school fees of their eldest son. That all is the reason why they admitted Sonu at our school – because he gets education and on top a warm lunch for free!
Sonu’s eldest brother is eleven years old, the second brother is ten years old, Sonu himself is eight and his younger brother five years old. Vishnu, the second brother doesn’t go to school. He has epileptic fits from time to time, ever since he was three years old. Doctors prescribed medicines which he takes regularly. His mother tells it has improved but still sometimes happens. It seems as though this has affected him, as he takes time to reply when you ask him something and his eyes constantly wander off to a squint.
Sonu however is a very quick and clever boy! He is now in the upper Kindergarten, our second pre-school class and has lots of fun learning!
We have once more seen another house and of course, after so many houses, it is just ‘another one’. Then again however, we also start thinking once more: could we live like this, six people in one small room, sharing a courtyard with ten or fifteen others?