Monday Evening - Visiting the Shree-Durga Dump

Trip Start May 15, 2009
Trip End May 24, 2009

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Flag of India  , West Bengal,
Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Amazing Christopher came to get us at around 4 p.m. this afternoon for our first trip out to visit the families living in the Shree-Durga dump.  Heather was still feeling weak and nautious from her heat exhaustion but didn't want to miss visiting the families for anything!

Our taxi ride was crazy!!!  In and out, around and back, to the left, to the right, horns constantly blaring, no one staying in a single lane, everyone trying to be first, cutting each other off - thank God we survived it, lol!

We finally arrived and saw for ourselves that it is really true - these beautiful, incredibly sweet families truly live in that dump.  They were so happy to see us - but nervous too we could tell.  They wanted so much to make a good impression - the little kids behaved perfectly, everyone greeted us with little roses - even in the midst of their situation they had so much love and so many smiles for us!  The little kids were so excited to show us the pictures they had drawn, and the older kids were really interested in Tom's mandolin again.

The longer we were there the larger a crowd that gathered.  Before we knew it there were like 100 people crowding into the dump all trying to see what was going on and what we were doing there.  One man in particular became very gruff with Alanna and demanded to know why she was taking pictures, and didn't she know it was against Indian law to take pictures of people on the street, and he could have her arrested, etc.

Interestingly, the older teens jumped right in to protect Alanna.  The girls surrounded her and walked her deeper into the dump while the boys rebuffed the man telling him to mind his own business that we were their friends, etc.  The man was drunk, however, and kept pressing so Christopher thought it best that we leave at that point.  He sent us all back to the Y in our own cab while he stayed behind with the folks at the dump. 

It turns out Christopher ended up staying with them a few more hours after we left.  He told us later about the many times he was harrassed personally for his work with the families, even threatened by a group of guys one time wanting to beat him up, but each time the families came to his rescue specifically protecting and defending him.  He said workers at the Shree-Durga hotel across the street are the worst offenders.
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