Juli Hammersley is a TPRF volunteer who co-chairs the donor relations team for TPRF. When she had an opportunity to go to Delhi, India, she asked if she could visit the Food for People facility in Bantoli, over an hour’s drive from the city. Welcomed to come, she stayed for several days, living in staff quarters, and witnessed much of village life and the goings on at the FFP dining room. Following is her first report from the scene, with more to come.

From the gales and rain of England to the blue sky and sunshine of a rural timeless area of India called Bantoli, in the district of Ranchi.

Moving through the Ranchi countryside, passing fields, small towns and country roads, which are punctuated with vegetable and fruit markets, alive with vibrant colors. Then out into the countryside again and feel the rhythm of bygone times, the cattle herder, the children.

There is something about the pace Women of Bantoliof life here and a major cultural adjustment has to be made. I can’t look at everything through the filter of my life, my childhood, and communicating that through this blog is difficult.

It is so easy to think “Oh, they have so little,” and then you catch a glimpse of a couple of ten- or eleven-year olds chariot racing buffalo across a field, having fun, and you just have to smile.

Only a few hundred yards from where I am staying is the People Facility (Food for People) as it is known here. I wake up early this morning, excited to see the facility for myself, and I get there early enough to watch the children arrive. I wait quietly as the first few drips of the impending torrent of children begins. Like some kind of magic, children appear from all directions. Small, young, old, tall, they arrive. This is their time, their opportunity, each approaching the sinks and washing area to clean and refresh. Six- and seven-year olds help their younger relations, lifting them toward the clean flowing water they can’t reach on their own, then disappearing inside, leaving only their watery footprints as evidence.

Inside, it is surprisingly quiet, and children sit patiently in lines, waiting for the starting gun. No racing start here though; orderly lines move with rows of shiny trays toBantoli meal where the food is served. Then back to their places, another hand wash, and eat.

Eat as much as you want to eat. Finished that? Still hungry? Then have some more.

Then with full bellies, off again from the directions they came to school or herding in the fields.

How was this structure built?
How is the food purchased?
And how is this possible?

Because of you, my friends, because of you.

Please read the TPRF Appeals Letter to support future FFP meal programs: http://www.tprf.org/on-account-of-a-meal

with children in Bantoli

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