“The wage is low. It is not enough to live on,” says Ruchina Dufo lethargically. She has probably said this many times yet nothing has changed. With this starvation wage which the 43 year old earns as a tea picker, she has to feed her four children and her sick mother. Her sick mother is paralyzed from her hips to her feet so she spends her monotonous days on a roughly hewn wooden flat bed. It is the only piece of furniture in the house. A couple of sheet metal pots, a kerosene lamp, a blanket, which she spreads across the mud floor when it’s time to sleep – they own no more.
Ruchina confesses that she sometimes reaches her limit. “But I have to go on,” she says. Her face shows no expression. What alternative does she have? Her parents before her, worked as tea pickers.
“The biggest problem is the house,” Ruchina explains soberly: “If I would look for different work, I would have no roof over my head anymore.”
Most people think alike. This is the right of the tea companies. The rent free living, the isolated villages and the many years of refusal by the government to allow schools here all created this dependency.For herself, claims Ruchina, she has no hope left. Maybe her children will experience better times. She knows education is the only way out of poverty.
This is an extract taken from the German made Kontinente Magazin, specialized in Missions.