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Family

Jennifer, a volunteer from Sweden, tells about a visit to a family whose children are at Little Lambs.

Vicky 6, and Nalanie 5, are students at ‘Little Lambs’ school. They live with their parents Rani and Satya Kumar in a 9 square metre straw hut about 10 minutes walk from ‘Little Lambs’ school. This hut has been their home for the last 7 years. They pay a rent of 200 rupees (4 euro) a month.

Rani loves visitors especially if they eat her food! To visit people in India without the reception of something edible is almost impossible. On the day I visit Rani she squats on the floor by the kerosene stove making dosai, a pancake made of rice flour. A delicious smell fills the only room. The coconut chutney/sauce is already prepared. Here Rani squats at the stove for hours everyday cooking breakfast, lunch for the children and dinner whatever time her husband returns home.

Rani faces lots of worries but she can still pull the brightest smile, which she has passed on to her two beautiful michevious children. Rani was brought up in a family of fourteen, six brothers and seven sisters. When she choose to marry Satya Kumar, a man who was judged inappropriate by her parents, the whole family decided to reject her. According to them she no longer counts as one in the family anymore; to them she is dead. After she got married she moved to Perumbur and had her two children. Her stomach covered by her sari, has still got big scars after the deliveries (both caesarean deliveries). After one abortion she had the family planning operation. Rani would like to give her children a proper education but since they are socio-economically backward, their only resort is the ‘Little Lambs’. As a domestic help, cooking, washing and cleaning she earns Rs 300 a month (6 euro), working Monday to Friday 3 hours a day. This money is to cover rent and food each month!

Work starts at 9.30 after the children are dropped off at school. Her day starts a lot earlier however. Rani wakes at 5 a.m. to pray for one hour to Jesus whom she calls her father. He is her only hope. Every Friday she dedicates to fasting and drinks only water in a fervent prayer of rescue. Her request is for an end to her husband’s alcohol problem, and a more tolerable life. She trusts in God and the confidence in her faith helps her struggle. Rani says in her own words, ‘we are the happy ones’, and points to her two children. Walking me home she thanks me for my visit, but I am the one supposed to say thank you. For the exquisite dinner, the generous communion and for choosing me to be her guest and confiding her life in me.