I realize I have been very blessed not only to have had this experience in India but also in my own life. I often get caught up in not having the same privileges as other folks in the states, or I find myself complaining about very minute things. The following conditions that I will be sharing in this article are not meant to offend anyone or degrade any parts of India. I realized that some Indian people have to deal with a lot more on a daily basis than myself. Disclaimer: all people in India are not subjected to all of these conditions, some people are doing very well.
Clean water. We have clean water in the states. In the states, I can drink the tap water, rinse my toothbrush with the water from the faucet, and ask for a cold glass of water with ice. Here in India and other developing countries people do not have clean water. Due to the water being contaminated people become ill, especially young children.
Child Beggars. I have seven nieces and nephews in total, and I spoil them rotten. They have all the latest gadgets, toys, love, a roof over their head, and three meals a day. Here in India, I have seen very young children begging for food and water from seven in the morning to nine o’clock at night. They have to worry about the next time they will be able to eat. My family has been blessed to give the children in our family options when eating every meal.
Education. I am currently in college. That is a blessing in a lot of countries, but I have found in India some young women do not complete middle school or high school because they have to help provide for their families.
Power. In the states, there has to be a lot of electronics plugged in, or it’s storming outside for a power outage to occur. Here in India, one could be sitting down at a restaurant, or in your workplace, or your hotel with nothing plugged in, and decent weather and everything could shut down. Folks have to deal with that on a daily basis.
Bathrooms. My home in the states has a toilet, a shower, and a sink. Of course, in the United States, we all expect to have a bathroom in our home with running water. While doing research on the Swachh Bharat Mission, I learned that a lot of people in rural and urban areas do not have a facility to bathe or use the toilet. Folks have to go to a field or area dedicated to open defecation. Women and children are often sexually abused or harmed when they are trying to relieve themselves in these fields. I have taken for granted that I can relieve myself at any time at night without stepping outside of my home.
Sidewalks. I know sidewalks for us in the states are usually always there, but in India, sidewalks are often cracked, non-existent or uneven. The sidewalks are dug up when it rains to stop the flooding, but no one places the cement covers back over the drains. And when there is no sidewalk one must walk in the streets, and the streets can be kind of intimidating.
Sanitation. We generate a lot of waste in the United States, but we usually don’t see it. In India however, people just throw garbage any and everywhere. Countries that are developing rapidly like India have to deal with a lot of waste from construction and demolition to trash from homes.
As a Black woman in America, I often feel stripped of certain privileges and rights. However, while being in India, I learned I have a lot to be grateful for because some people have way more obstacles than me and still manage to create opportunities for themselves. Always, remember to count your blessings.