There are plenty of good intentions. It has been a fascinating journey and yet I find myself not surprised by what I am learning.
My mum called her friend who has built a temple on her street. They have also built 6 toilets. We weren’t able to talk much and I am unsure whether this is open for people who have made the streets of Vadodara their home because this is where there is opportunity for livelihood, more so than in the villages they lived in. There certainly was no evidence of the toilets being used in the morning as we walked past.
Then, I got a call from a very dear friend of ours who is based in Mumbai and does a lot of work in Kutch. He called and said “I hear you want to build toilets” 🙂
He is leading an agri business in Kutch and they are building 500 toilets in xx village (where there is no sanitation). This is an integral part of their Corporate Social Responsibility. They have figured out how to build a toilet in Rs. 20,000. When I shared this with Mum she spoke to Dad about how she would like to sponsor one. And both mum and I agreed how just talking about this very random idea I have had for a while is evolving and taking shape.
In Delhi now and was passing through Noida. There is a sea of cement clad 30 storey blocks that perhaps hold 1000 + families… there seem to be hundreds of these built, being built. Accompanied by an army of people, perhaps on the streets building these. I wonder if the people who are building these apartments and the people who are buying them for many millions of dollars have considered the living conditions of those who build them. Where is our social conscience?
I met a dear Uncle in Delhi, who is in the construction business. He mentioned that they had approached the local council and offered to build a block of toilets for general access. It was a commercial proposal, where they would have got revenue from the advertising on the toilet block. It was declined.
So here we are.
I am wondering where to from here. I am sure it will come. I am sure I see the early signs of a quality of life that is better for more people than the privileged few amongst the 1 billion + people that live here.
I am sure I see that there is an army of people trying to, committed to this cause. I will figure out what role I can play in all of this.
Meanwhile, I continue to try and make sense of all the dichotomies in this beautiful, mysterious, cruel land that is India. A garden in a complex of 1000 apartments where the “guidance” for the use of land is that it is not allowed to be used by the domestic help. Where a journalist has taken the trouble to delve into the life of the juvenile perpetrator of possibly the most violent crime of all … the rape of a young woman. There are so many sides to a coin it seems…. and you have to wonder what will emerge for us humans…