- Mani (Early Child Care & Curriculum Support)
It was early days at the Gubbachi Learning Centre. The little ones from the early child care room lined up to go to the Souchalaya ; the recently constructed, pink tiled, clean Souchalaya with the new, bright coloured buckets and mugs. I accompanied Asha along with the children.
The following is an unforgettable sequence of events that occurred on that mornings visit to the Souchalaya.
The Souchalaya doors were locked. Usha went to the school office to bring the keys.
Once the doors were opened we realized there was not a single drop of water. All the new taps were dry.
This time I went to the school office. It was empty so I had to disturb the teacher to ask him to please switch on the sump’s water motor.
By this time, some of the children were standing cross-legged trying to control their urgent need to pee.
The motor was switched on, but after a few minutes we only heard the taps whistling . We stood with our ears to the pipe, straining to hear water go up to the overhead tank. No luck. The motor was kaput.
‘No problem, we can fill the buckets from the sump, said Manjunath the teacher from the School.
We reached the sump and realized it was locked – with 2 locks (To prevent public access to the water as well as a measure to prevent accidents). We scurry to fetch the keys.
By this time few of the little ones hurried behind the bushes to answer natures call.
As we opened the lid, after ensuring the remaining curious children left, Manjunath asked us if we had a rope!!! But of course how were we going to draw water from the sump?
In the absence of the rope, Khader (a senior student invariably the one ‘in-charge of many things) was summoned to descend down the steps of the sump so that he could draw water for us.
Khader helped us fill all our pots and buckets.
The few who did manage to wait to use the toilet ran in as soon as the buckets were placed.
All this in a Souchalaya in Bangalore city - the Software capital of the country!