Last day of build in Bawana
18.09.2007 - 18.09.2007 40 °C
I haven't had a moment to update the blog, so am a few days behind.
I am hoping it will be a bit easier to talk about leaving Bawana as it has been more than a couple of days now... The morning of the last build was filled with a nagging anxiety, a sense of loss and genuine warmth for new friends found during the build. When the bus pulled into the village for the last time, it was truly bittersweet.
While the house I had been working on was not yet complete, it would be soon. I felt proud of the contribution I had made and could only hope that our efforts would improve the life of the family we had come to know by name and circumstance. By lunch time, the impending goodbye was palpable - not just for us but the people who had watched us with curiosity, confusion and affection. We did what we could to prepare the little ones for our departure, mostly because they were always asking when and if we were coming back.
For a good part of the morning, I carried Ditli (butterfly) on my hip while she rest her shoulder on my head and quietly fell asleep. Ditli couldn't be more than four years of age and has polio but can walk. Ditli's mother passed away when she was a baby and we were told that she lives with her older brother and father who drinks.
Even know as I type, I will never forget the feeling of her little arms wrapped around me and the tears that fell from her cheek while she worked hard to form a smile. I couldn't imagine the last time someone had picked her up merely to hold her. She seemed to need it. I think we both did.
I knew that saying goodbye that afternoon would be somewhat of an emotional experience but was horribly surprised to find out that it was harder than I could have imagined. I felt good about the work that we had done but knew in my heart and head that it was a small contribution to a country desperately in need of more than the government is willing to give and more than any NGO can provide on thier own. That said, I will carry the images of poverty with me and do what I can to improve the lives of the 'untouchables' in India and elsewhere.
As the day progressed, saying goodbye became unbearable. That is all I can say about my last day in Bawana for now.