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In Kashi again


The first kids arrive at school


Going along the way from the airport to the ashram again, about twenty kilometers long way, I am seized with the usual sense of familiarity. After some kilometers we turn right to reach the village where Vina lives with her family whom we have known since a long time. Her mother, Koussun, is Om Prakash’s sister. He is one of our school teachers. Vina is a girl who recently has been living in the ashram for some time, teaching our girls how to make soft toys, rag dolls and bags. That very night she will marry her brother-in-law who is left a widower by Vina’s sister who died unexpectedly in childbirth. Vina agreed willingly to the proposal and now the child will have not only an aunt but also a new mother. Vina’s husband will leave in a couple of days for Bombay where he is working.


The gate facing the Ganges


Some months have passed since my last stay but on seeing the ashram I feel a sense of pleasant continuity as if I had never gone away.


Preparing breakfast for the cows


It is partly cloudy and the air is almost fresh, as if it had just rained. The monsoon hasn’t arrived yet but it showed up timidly some days before. This lessens the impact of the still high temperatures.


Rita with the flower basket I was given for my birthday


Wandering about, I spot some mongooses staring at me with curiosity. The colony living in the ashram is increased and now they are many and you can see them sneaking into stone blocks and running close to the walls. It is a nice and very fast animal and keeps snakes away. In the meantime a langur, the holy black and white and long-tailed monkey, has sneaked into the ashram but the dogs have surrounded it and force it to climb to the top of the trees. It will leave a short time later, maybe a little bit disappointed.


Santoshi and the electric fountain she made


The following days the sun shines forcefully upon this thirsty and dry plain where the Ganges has subsided still further compared to the last summer and has set a new all-time low. The drought invokes the monsoon that is still absent here while it floods already other parts of India. In the city the thermometer reads more than 40°C.


Santoshi’s fountain


In the ashram we dont’t mind the hot weather too much because we have to follow many activities. We are preparing the orchard area where to move the kitchen and our boys, who are young men now, cheerfully help us in the works. One of them has just got his driving license and drives the tractor carrying the earth to fill the points where the ground is still too low.

Chandini and her aquarium


Our doctors fulfill their engagements even in the worst days, which is very praiseworthy, considering that their participation is unselfish. They are exceptional and humble human beings whose collaboration at the hospital and during the medical camps is invaluable and irreplaceable. All the patients, the doctors nurse humanely and treat with much kindness, love and respect them. Seasonal infirmities torment many kids and elderly persons who fall victims of the torrid climate, and our hospital tries to make up for their emergencies in the best possible way.


Reema has prepared a clock


In the afternoon some girls and boys come to attend music and sewing courses. It is pleasant to sit down in the shade of the pipal tree (ficus religiosa) and listen to their chants.


Anita and her creations


The guys who are about to go to secondary and high school are excited for the last preparations they do with much attention and seriousness. The ones who will go to seven different external schools are given some new uniforms, books, notebook and shoes and every year their number increases more and more. For the next course we will have more than sixty pupils.


Ties for the new school uniforms


Officially school begins on July 1st but some schools can admit students even at the last moment or after the opening. We have some new teachers and among them also an ex-professor from a college in Haryana.


The first day: teachers and kids


In our school, which comprises nursery and primary school, the year has opened on this date but not all the students have already arrived. In these days grandmothers, grandfathers or parents, but often also brothers and sisters take children to school for the admission. Next Monday we will be completely operative.

See you soon!