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  • Writer's pictureKirk

Hanging with the Boys in India

On one of my many trips to India I spent some time in a boys home. I enjoyed "hanging with the boys" on this particular day

As I've said before, these homes are light on adult overseers and many of the children crave attention. In a sea of faces it can be hard to get noticed.

In addition to schoolwork, the children have chores to do throughout the day. One of them includes cleaning of their water tanks.

There is no indoor plumbing in the boy's huts. The water is stored in a big centrally, elevated tank where it is gravity fed into buckets below. The boys share the responsibility of bringing water by buckets to their huts.

The tanks are periodically drained to remove the iron build up in the tanks. That is what is seen in the video above. I think they see this as fun work.

I had suggested to the headmaster to get some cheap pvc pipe to pipe water from the tank to each hut. This would save the arduous chore of bucket transport each day. I even offered to buy the pvc as it would cost no more than a few hundred dollars. He listened to the suggestion but I doubt it was ever done. I think he saw this as a morning labor that helped instill discipline.

The boys are of all ages. The younger ones are placed in a hut with one or two older teen boys. One boy is assigned the duty of hut captain and is responsible for the younger boys. Typically there is a married couple that is on the grounds and live there. The male adult is what I refer to as the headmaster.

It is not all school and chores here. There is recreation time also. They play "old time" games like marbles and hopscotch even. I introduced them to limbo while there. They also like just simple activities like running foot races with one another. On Friday's they all leave the premises to go on a 45 minute marathon run in the village. I joined them one day but finished near the last (but not dead last as I think some of the boys took pity).

The children are free from cell phones or computer. It's like going back in time 50+ years for me seeing the simple activity that bring them joy.

They enjoyed showing off their physical skills to me. Likewise I liked showing them the "modern technology " of a camera on my iPhone. I would film in slo-motion and show it back to them. They got a big kick seeing themselves in slo-mo and kept asking me to do it again.

It was good to see them enjoying their childhood free from all care. Because it is very likely their adult years will not be easy. This is a very poor area and the government does little in the ways of benefits or social programs, especially in this "no man's land" area. I was told, because these are mixed people from Myanmar, China, and even Bangladesh, the government doesn't even recognize them as Indian citizens.

There's more to tell of this area of the world, but another time.

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