The Large Life In A Small Cement Building

by Mackenzie Armstrong

In a small cement building, a few kilometres outside of Bangalore, India, I write this article. For two months, I will be here with thirty children that do not have a mother or a father. They are orphans that only have each other and Lovedale: a small piece of a growing India that they can call their home.
There is no denying that parts of India are very dirty, where people sit outside their houses with slumped shoulders and eyes that have sunk even further. There are pockets of Bangalore where you might find colourful mansions, with the sounds of television seeping out into the streets, but these areas are rare. Poverty is what most Indians know. 
In Bangalore, you are reminded in every street that Indiaís population size is exploding. I miss the quiet days in Black Point, where you might see one person walk by every half an hour. Here, ten people might surround you moment to moment. These crowds, combined with the suffocating mixture of heat and pollution, is enough for me to pray for a slushy, winter day in Halifax.
Outside of the city, far from the smog and the filthy cityscape, I came to Lovedale almost two weeks ago. It can be found on the outskirts of a small village called Anagalpura, enclosed within a wall painted with bright designs. Before I came, the Lovedale Foundation emailed me a picture of a smiling group of children. I thought that perhaps the children had been persuaded to look so happy, so full of life. Now I know the truth.
There are currently thirty children who call the Lovedale orphanage their home; twenty boys and ten girls. Some have been here for the majority of their young lives, while others have just arrived. Jaya and Mary act as their mothers, Michael as their father, making their meals and making sure they brush their teeth. Two mothers and one father for thirty children might seem like too little love, but you havenít met Jaya, Mary and Michael.
The picture of the smiling faces did not give enough credit to the childrenís spirit. Playing with one another, I have never seen children happier so much of the time. They can take five small stones and make a game that they will play for many hours of many days. One deck of Uno cards gives them more joy than I get from almost anything. A plate of rice that goes down my throat like wet paper is to them the only food they know. You cannot see in their faces whether or not they enjoy their food because they understand that how hard it is for Jaya, Mary and Michael to provide even rice.
Without parents, these children were forced to become independent before most children are able. Everyday, on their own, they complete chores, finish their homework, and grow a little taller. Every second day they hand wash their clothes.
Life at Lovedale might seem archaic to Nova Scotians but it is only when you look past what these children donít have when you start to see what they do. 

[Mackenzie Armstrong] [Admitted Introvert] [And May Humanity Improve!] [Drink Because It's Bad For You] [Endurance Through The Ages] [Life, Death & Everything Else] [Of A Hobbit & Your Dreams] [Punch His Face] [Strand By Strand] [The Politics Of Saving Lives] [War Should Not Be Natural] [You And I At The Zoo] [The Large Life In A Small Cement Building] [One world and its infinite number of others]