We turn down a narrow laneway and enter a crowded area of jumbled two-storey buildings, in various stages of completion, known as Bakari village. Mothers with toddlers on their hips or hanging onto their legs, stand in open doorways. When I glance behind them into the dark single rooms where they live with their families, I can see their meager living conditions.
The older children are gathering impatiently in the vacant block where the food is being prepared. There is a light, cheerful atmosphere with children playing, goats resting around the water pump, local women and girls preparing the dough, and a volunteer cook overseeing the fire and pots. This is a very small area, therefore the food preparation must be completed and removed before the seating can be arranged to serve the meals. ASMITA and Sai Maa Vishnu Shakti Trust join this community atmosphere, distributing about 120 meals of spicy vegetable curry, hot puris (bread) and bananas.
This is a small community and the feeding program shows how tight-knit the families are. While the children are being fed, the parents either stand alongside the feeding area or look on from their doorways. Mothers, fathers, and grandparents are all present with the children. Their eyes are alive and they have smiles on their faces. As we leave, a baby goat follows us up the laneway, bleating a loud farewell. The street stallholders wave warmly, and we say goodbye to this community hidden behind the public gaze.