The children rush to greet us when we arrive and their dirty faces look up at us with their eyes shining. I move towards one of the children and immediately all the children eagerly reach out their hands.
After introductions, the children entertain themselves, while the puri (bread) is rolled and fried. Some play games, while others view us as their entertainment. A group of girls stand shyly behind their mothers, watching us. Over time, some of the more courageous come and watch me take photos. Unlike most other slum areas we visit, the girls do not ask to have their pictures taken. So I ask the girls if I can take their photo. Most shyly agree.
The children are seated long before the meal is served. They wait patiently in rows for their meal of vegetable curry, puri and a banana. What strikes me most here is that poverty co-exists with such joy and happiness in the children. There are many children with unwashed hair, knotted and full of dust. Their clothes are rags, ripped and dirty. Yet despite this, they are joyous, full of life, noisy and oh so exuberant!
The poverty is reflected in their consumption of food as well. We serve the normal amounts for the slum feedings, yet these children ask for 3 to 4 additional servings, continuing to eat for a very long time before reaching their fill. I watch with amazement that their tiny bodies can consume such a bulk of food. When the feeding is complete, we have served 200 children in this village of Dudiya Pokra.