miércoles, 18 de mayo de 2011

A shower of kites

It has been freezing down to the bones for a few days now. It becomes an obsession when you can’t find a single warm place anywhere in the city. The streets of Varanasi, tinged with a thick mist, making it even more mysterious, were full of people wrapped in blankets as the only way to fight off the freezing breeze.

Yesterday, 14th January, the sun appeared with a little more enthusiasm. Many here were certain that from now on light would return to the city. And so it was. It was not only hot, but also full of colour. In the Festival of Kites, the sky was overflowing with hundreds of moving papers. Our little ones were not left behind and delighted in guiding the strings of their kites with surprising skill. Their enthusiasm became even greater when we took them by boat to the other side of the river, where a vast expanse of sand awaited them to boost their joy.

After many long days with the school closed because of the low temperature, classes started again. The girls and boys of Seed for Change have been attending extra classes so as not to lose the pace and keep their concentration on studying.

In Sigra, the number of pupils who will soon start the school year is increasing. Their progress is developing, and also our relationship with the families is becoming increasingly more confident and involved. This is seen by their attendance and interest in the successive parents meetings and their receptive attitude to workshops to reinforce basic hygiene habits to prevent disease.

At informative sessions, bars of soap and toothbrushes are handed out. There are many people here who do not have a coat for these cold winter days, leading on some occasions to serious health problems and even death. After collecting winter clothes and blankets, we share them out giving several garments per family.

The cold is going, but also some of our companions. Maria Antonia and Javier are continuing their journey through this land of contrasts after filming a documentary for their production company Mamaterra Producciones which speaks of the work that Seed for Change is developing in Varanasi. We shall miss them, but we won’t lose track of them.

Original text: Vanessa Escuer
Photos: Vanessa Escuer
Date of publishing: 15/01/2011
Translation: Bridget Hunter

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