My first day in Kochpukur was appropriately out of control. Driving into the city was a life altering experience within itself, passing bikers, trucks, rickshaws, cows, goats, and dogs all within an inch of my life. The scenery is indescribable, but I’ll give it my best shot. Most of the houses were made of a combination of mud, sticks, plastic trash bags. The over grown brush was as much a part of the houses as cow poop. Yes I said cow poop. Apparently it is a very good fuel and it also diverts heat away from the mud preventing any cracking. There’s your fun fact for the day. As we travelled into the city we stopped in front a small shop that sold candy, down a small ally was the morning school where we met forty five girls that we will be teaching for the next two weeks. The school was beautiful. We walked up a flight of stairs and out onto a balcony where the girls were sitting on mats with their book bags in front of them, as soon as we got out on to the balcony, the girls stood up to greet us with ear to ear grins. One of the workshops included making pipe cleaner bracelets; as I went to hand one of the girls her pipe cleaners, another wrapped her bracelet around my wrist and told me she wanted me to have it. This small gesture brought tears to my eyes, at which point I knew that these next two weeks are going to be unlike any other I will ever experience. Despite the abject poverty that plagues this area, there is so much life in the people here, they may have to struggle each day to put food on their tables, but that doesn’t stop them from finding happiness.
I leave you with a quote with which Ghandi changed a nation and that is very dear to me: “Be the change you want to see”