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Manav Sadhna - A Little Game

Manav Sadhna - Day 10

February 9, 2017

Let's play a game. I have a thousand other experiences I could write about tonight but I choose not to.

I was lotioning (nope that's not a word but I'm going to use it).. uh um.. I was lotioning my hands tonight and was so grateful for the lotion. Also SO irritated with my disgusting and dry hands. Funny how gratitude came hand in hand with my irritations. No pun intended.

Okay. So let's start this game. Let's list the the everyday first world luxuries that don't exist for the majority of people living here.

1. Hand lotion. Or any lotion for that matter. And I'll correct myself, lotion obviously exists.

- BUT. It's basically pointless. I've spent the past two hours casually reapplying layer after layer of lotion onto my hands, arms, FEET. Especially my feet. I saw a little boy today at the community center who, if I had only seen a photo of his feet, without a scalable reference, I would have guessed he was in his eighties. His feet were charred with black. The soles were crusted and cracked so deeply it looked painful. The tops were dry and wrinkled. Completely aged wrinkled skin covered this child's feet. He was under ten years old.

- Shoes must be taken off when you enter a home, temple, school, and most buildings here. But that's not the cause of this child's feet. Most, if not all - of these slum children walk around barefoot. In the slums. In the piles of garbage, human and animal feacies, contaminated waters, mud, and dust. Children in general lack cleanliness - all over the world. Put them in an environment that is impossible to get clean in and imagine how far they can take it.

• I looked over at another kid who repeatedly tried to speak to me in Gujarati and I simply stared at his face and allowed him to think I was listening. He had to be under six years old. His face was so dry, so caked with ash, dirt and dust, so dehydrated he had the wrinkles of a forty year old man. Not the youthful skin of a child.

• Back to my point of the luxury of lotion. You see, there's nearly no point. In applying lotion.. when you're in a constant place of filth. The lotion only acts as a glue for all the dust that flies around. • While I was applying lotion out of our new 250 ml bottle (yes we splurged on the size up from the travel sized bottle - we ARE going to be here for a month), I think about my normal shower routine at home. An oversized jacuzzi tub, a very clean oversized jacuzzi tub - which I obviously paid someone else to clean🙊, a double sink, an extra large vanity mirror, and all the bottles of scented lotions my little heart could desire. And I massage this lotion into my hands and actually think about how so many people in the world don't even know that lotion is a luxury.

2. Clean water.

• Okay. This one. I know everyone knows that America is a very fortunate land where all the water is clean and safe to drink. We know this because of the regulations in place by the US Environmental protection Agency( EPA) for public drinking water, aka the Safe Drinking Water Act. But do you REALLLY know how fortunate we are? Do you really?

• Do you know how much of a chore brushing your teeth becomes? Or vegetables. People in America already complain about having to cook, or make excuses for eating healthy because generally speaking, eating healthy requires a high amount of at home cooking. Imagine the process of cooking - or preparing raw vegetables when the water cannot be trusted. There is extensive amounts of soaking, re soaking, etc. Doing dishes is the same. Every single dish has to be very properly dried off. The levels of bacterias in the waters are outrageous: E. coli, hepatitis a, polio, giardia, hook worm... must I go on? All these things you can catch from washing broccoli wrong or flushing your toothbrush under the wrong unfiltered spout.

3. CCCCREDITTT CARDS. Oh yes. Debit and credit cards.

• Wanna swipe that? Think again. Credit cards (well the loaned money on the credit card) is obviously a luxury. The actual piece of plastic many would argue is not. By definition, a credit or debit card (meaning just the piece of plastic) would absolutely be a luxury. It's a tool used to better enhance someone's ease and comfort of transactions. But the opposer would state that it's all relative.

4. Tampons. Better yet - sanitary areas to tend to a woman's cycle. Luxury.

5. Sanitary areas for a woman postpartum. Luxury.

6. Proper education. Should be a government mandate. But it's a luxury.

7. Shoes. Luxury. We took a group of about 70 kids on a field trip the other day, I saw several going without shoes. I've never actually seen that before. How spoiled is that? That I've never actually seen a child go on school field trips without shoes? Because in America, somebody could afford to buy that child shoes [ more].

8. WASHING MACHINES and dryers. Luxury. Duh.

9. Alcohol, tobacco, and meats. All illegal luxuries.

But I don't want to dwell on all the have nots. Because these people are truly some of the most spiritually connected, people of depth I've ever come to know. They have a lot of things people with luxuries don't.

-AS @travelingsnow

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