Morning Cup of Tea
with Hansa-ben and her Daughter

We were sitting under the shade of the tree in front of Hansa-ben’s tidy hut in her village of Fatepurah. She had made us a cup of tea in the traditional Indian way by boiling tea leaves with water, milk and sugar. She asked me if I would like her special Cha masala to which I readily agreed. The aroma of black tea leaves boiled with ground cloves and cardamom is irresistible.

The honorific title of ‘Ben’ or ‘elder sister’ given to Hansa is because the entire village regards her as such. She is a widow, and the eldest member of the Tamasha group. Her husband died a couple of years ago, a death that could have been avoided had there been a doctor or a qualified nurse close at hand.

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A Conversation with Vibha:
Homemaker and Member of the Tamasha Family

It was a typical warm sunny afternoon in the village of Fatehpurah. We were sitting on the floor of Vibha’s neat and clean verandah in front of her family’s small hut. Vibha no longer covered her head, as is customary for village women in India. She was happy and seemed content with her life. Tea was brewing.

Vibha lives with her husband and their three sons. Her husband works in a nearby field as an agricultural day laborer. Before joining Tamasha, Vibha and her husband lived a hand-to-mouth existence. They barely had enough money to buy food; their children could not afford the books and supplies needed for school. Vibha worked 7 hours a day away from home. Times were hard when she had to stay home to look after one of her sick children and she had to forgo her day’s wages.

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