It is Friday once more and time for me to introduce you to our school students. Today it is the turn of two sisters who live completely at the border of Vrindavan, actually out in the fields, where one can still see the beauty of Vrindavan before civilization brought houses to nearly each square meter available.
The girls are called Babita and Seema. They have one elder brother and one younger brother. Babita is twelve years old and Seema ten. Their father is one of eight siblings and formerly, the whole family lived in the poor area of Vrindavan where many of our school children have their homes. There however, the space grew less and less with each child that was born and when fourteen people were living in one room, they decided to make a change. Two brothers and one sister moved out to the family field together with their spouses and children.
There was once a time when the family had big fields, ample space and many squaremeters of land close to the Yamuna. Babita’s father and uncles thought of this property as their inheritance but then it was all flooded by the Yamuna. ‘Their land’ is now the bed of the river and they are left with a small field a bit further towards town.
It is beautiful there, out in nature but still connected to the town by a small sandy footpath. Of course, the pollution of the environment with plastic bags and garbage can be seen there, too, but it is green and pleasant at the girls’ home. At the same time however, we can see that they don’t have an excess of money. The house is very simple, there is a small toilet cabin out of mud, the buffalo cows stand close to the house and when we arrived, the girls came running from their field where they had showered with the field’s water pipe. The girl’s clothes are visibly worn.
Babita and Seema’s father works in a hotel in Vrindavan where he is in the purchasing department. He earns about 80 US-Dollar in a month. A good part of that is spent on the school fees, books and utensils for his two sons whom he decided to admit in another school. Spending money for their boys’ education doesn’t seem too much for them – but we are the ones who teach their girls for free. It is the traditional idea that a girl would just marry and be a housewife for whom education is for no value anyway.
The girls however love learning at our school. We hope they will someday go another way than their family has foreseen. They come together with their cousins. They are good students and normally always stick together, which makes it difficult for other people to tell one girl from the other!