A remote village on the outskirts of Bangalore

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I am in Hosahalli, a remote village on the outskirts of Bangalore. Children rush to greet us. The villagers wonder why volunteers with Habitat for Humanity traveled so far to dig trenches and move dirt and rocks in pans. Each day, more people watch or help us work.

The women do a lovely groundbreaking ceremony with a small altar of incense and offerings; I am anointed with a saffron dot on my forehead. The homeowner presents each of us with a tiny banana. Such graciousness every day.

Several women invite me into their homes for tea, and I feel humbled by how they live. Their two small rooms are bare except for the bedding where eight or ten family members sleep. There are holes in the ceilings and walls and it rains every afternoon.

A mother handed me her precious baby, who seemed to enjoy my rendition of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The baby’s great-grandmother smiled and blessed me. When I look into the eyes of people here, I forget for a moment about the squalor around us.