It’s monsoon season in India right now and it’s been raining non-stop! Given all the rain we’ve had in the UK over the last few months you might think I’d be quite comfortable with this, but here in a slum in Patna ADP the rain brings very different challenges.
I’m here in India to continue my storytelling mission with children, encouraging them to have a voice about their everyday experiences. Several of the children chose to write about the monsoons and I think their words will give you the best picture of what life is like here:
“In monsoon there is a lot of rain. Lightning flashes in the sky. Tit tat tit tat tit tat the rain falls. The cold days have come. In monsoon I feel cold. Water floods. In the monsoon my house leaks. In monsoons we put plastics over our roof. Outside water gathers. Once water gathers we have to make the drains and then the drains get full.” - Puja, Neha & Anjalie, 8.
People’s homes here are in a state of disrepair, with leaky roofs, bamboo fences for walls and mud floors. Although these are permanent dwelling places they look like temporary structures thrown together, especially with the added layers of plastic to keep out the torrential rain.
The monsoon also produces a range of health issues for children living here. The stagnant water left after the rain is a certified breeding ground for malaria carrying mosquitoes. The change of climate brings high fever and flu. There are also some serious sanitation threats, with drains overflowing and rubbish everywhere. This next group of children talk about this in their story:
“It is rainy season. We like to take bath in it. The thunderclouds roar and then rain comes. Near house the way becomes muddy, water log is also there. When rains come we face problems in going to school, bags are also wet, then we put umbrella. Water also drops from the roof. We face problem in that. From the muddy roads, very bad smells comes out. When we take bath in that rain we fall sick. We have to eat medicine, it is very bad taste.” - Dipali, 10, Gudia, 14, Anshu, 12 & Priti, 10 years old.