6.14.2007

Weather and power outages

The weather has cooled off to about 40C during the day, but with an increase in humidity to 80% because the monsoon rains have started in the east. In this morning's Hindu Times there was a picture of the flooding in Calcutta where a rickshaw driver was pulling passengers through 2-3 feet of water. Unfortuneately, we are not even in 'pre-monsoon' season yet...I don't really know what that means, but I think it will stay hot for a little while yet. Because of the heat, Delhi is continuously breaking its own record for the most power ever used per day in the city (according to the newspapers), which is resulting in planned power outages in every community. The power goes out more than a dozen times in a day, but many places have generators that kick in after a minute or so. Typically, everyone goes about their business as usual through the frequent outages.

Today we visited a second slum community called JJ Camp. (JJ stands for a Hindi word that means thatched roof houses, even though most of the houses have tin roofs). JJ camp is not as well off as A-block (yesterday) and pretty much smells like human waste everywhere you go. About a quarter of the children have severe skin rashes either due to infections or 'medicines' administered by the mothers. (One child we saw yesterday had balding patches after the mother tried using something on his skin). In addition, most of them probably have lice because they were itching their skin and scalps like crazy. Here is most of a family with a mother and her six children. The room that they live in (right) is so small that some of the family members have to sleep outside the door.


The smaller boy in the black T-shirt has dark black makeup around his eyes (I have seen this on many young children and babies) because the community believes that it will improve the child's eyesight.

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