To get there, I was winding through street after street, and could see the buildings deteriorating with each turn until they were simple, unpainted brick buildings. I was still surprised to find simple cloth huts with mud floors at our destination. The people of Dev Pokri had found an empty space in the middle of Varanasi and built their huts on it – huts that were so small in comparison to the surrounding buildings. Looking at the huts in this monsoon season, I wondered what it was like for the residents when it rained.
The children here are so cute. As they are eating, I take pictures of them, play with them, show them their photo, and laugh with them. There are so many genuine smiles and I find the children very innocent. They are just curious about who I am, and I enjoy the opportunity to watch them play.
These children and their families have come hundreds of kilometres to be in Varanasi and now they sell toys, balloons, and other plastic items in the city. It amazes me that people come all this way to live in these simple mud huts and sell plastic toys, but to them this must be a better alternative than the world they came from. It was comforting to hear that many of the children are now going to school, a benefit of living in a major city like Varanasi.
I got a glimpse of the reality of living here when it suddenly began to rain. The mood changed quickly, and I saw a young boy begin to cry as the rain came. I saw how dire it must feel some times, but at the same time I was enamoured with the spirit and liveliness despite the outer conditions. It was an honour to serve this village and share a meal, allowing the residents to relax and be taken care of.