On the 25th of November, Lili and I had the idea to start a cleaning project at “The Hope House”. Even though the children and staff members make every effort to keep the area clean, a lot of small pieces of garbage still accumulate over the years.
In general, the waste economy in India is different than in Germany. In the district of Vellore, where we live, there is no garbage collection service that picks up the trash every day. All over the world, waste separation and recycling are concepts that are not yet fully developed and have only become increasingly important in recent years.
Every Sunday, the children ride down the street on a bicycle loaded with garbage bags and put them into a small container. As you can see, a high amount of self-initiative and consistency is therefore required from the population in order for waste collection to work. It is much easier to just throw the trash into the next river.
Our idea was to play a litter-picking game. The girls against Lili and me. We all had 40 minutes to collect as much garbage as possible in the garden area around “The Hope House”. We found things like shoes, diapers, clothes and plastic packaging. After 40 minutes, we all came together and the group that had collected the most garbage won: the girls obviously won. We were all very shocked and happy at the same time that we found so much garbage in such a short time.
After the cleaning game, we also managed to clear one area on the terrace of “The Hope House”. Many things have accumulated over the years and some we were even able to save from the weather conditions which are now being reused again.
This game and the whole cleaning process has made it clear that even if they are doing their best at the moment to take care of the garbage as thoroughly and carefully as possible, it is still not enough to keep the property clean.
I think it was necessary to remind them again how important this issue is and that they don’t lose the focus on it. It is also important to talk to the guests that come to “The Hope House” to remind them how to properly dispose garbage.
All in all, we had a very productive day and the girls, Lili and I were really exhausted but happy from the whole cleaning process.