Mercury Rising #GivingTuesday

waiting for water

This picture was taken near the Project Why Okhla Centre at the time when the tanker delivers water for an entire community. This is when children dash out of class to reach the tanker in time, having already placed their buckets or cans well in advance. This is also when we do not interfere, as Project Why is no match for WATER!

In most slums in Delhi taps run dry in summer and water is supplied through tankers. You have to fill enough water for all household chores until the next tanker arrives. For those of us who have access to tap water and the means to create sufficient back up, it is impossible to imagine what it means to survive with a few pans of water.

The heat is on and the mercury is rising. It touched 44 C a few days back. A few moments in this scorching heat is enough to send your head spinning and make you long for an air conditioned room. Some of us have that luxury, but for those living in slums the story is different.

Many of the homes in the slums have corrugated iron or asbestos roofs and ceilings that are so low an adult cannot stand. The only opening is the door. There are no windows or any form of ventilation. The tiny space is often shared by five or six people.

In the day these tenements turn into ovens, making it impossible to sit inside them. This is when women sit outside their doors, the men simply go out, the children run around in the sun. The sky is better than an asbestos sheet.

Project Why is a place where children can come to stay cool. The space is large; we have fans and coolers to provide respite and a place to study. That is one of the reasons why from day one, Project Why decided to remain open during the summer holidays as that is a time when children need us most. Boys and girls come together and as many have gone to the villages, we are able to accommodate the ones who stayed behind.

Summer is another moment which requires the survival tactics of those who have so little. Complaints are few if any and smiles are ever present.

a house in the slum

Durga's home

welcome drink

cooling in the park

Ice cream man

orange juice to the rescue

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