I met with one of the volunteers at Kriti, a non-profit organization, today. She told us all about the projects they work on and the services they provide for the village. I can’t wait to get started working with them.

Before we left, she took us to the slums. We walked through the streets and met some of the people. There are two types of households in the slums: permanent and temporary. The permanent ones are simple one room units while the temporary ones are tents made of any sort of material that could act as a roof. I’ve always considered myself incredibley fortunate but I’ve never known the extent of it. There is no running water or sewage system. All the waste runs down to this one river that is a mix of human waste and trash. Every other day is “water day” so you have to fill up all your bottles while you can. Everyone was out washing their clothes on the street. Children come home from school just so they can stock up while their parents are at work. I’ll never take my shower and sink for granted again. One woman even asked us to take her baby with us when we left.

And even though it seems impossible to me, the people appear to be happy. I went to a book reading of Amitav Ghosh, a famous Indian writer about a week ago. He said that it is remarkable to think of when you see the buses overflowing with people and the workers struggling to make ends meet, but when it comes down to it, Indians are happy. Coming from a culture where money is perpetually associated with happiness it seems unreal to me. How could you be happy when everyday chores become day long tasks? Or wondering if you’ll have enough money to feed your family today? But they are happy. I think we could learn a lot from these people. I hope some day our society can get back to genuine contentment.