Recently, I had the privilege of going to Indira’s home to meet her family and learn more about her life. I was nervous and excited. I’ve known her for about three months from my time interning at Purnaa. She is always quick with a smile and a greeting. I was looking forward to getting to know her more.
When we arrived, Indira invited us in right away and was full of smiles as she introduced her two children, Suburna, 13 years old and Sushmita, 11 years old. She was excited for us to meet her family and learn more about her life.
Indira and her children live in a one-bedroom apartment. They have a kitchen and bathroom that they share with the other tenants on their floor. Their room is full of bright colors and feels like a home.
Indira starts her day by waking up at 5am. Her son, Suburna, leaves for school at 6 am, so she wakes up that early to get things ready for him before he leaves. The first things Indira does every morning are pray and read her Bible. She has passed this routine on to her children, as they also start their days by praying and reading their Bibles.
After that she makes breakfast. Their breakfast is usually “dal bhat”, a traditional Nepali dish consisting of rice and lentils. When breakfast is finished, she prepares lunches for her children that they take with them to school. For lunch she usually makes roti or chapatti, which are both types of flat bread.
When all the cooking is done, Indira helps her daughter get ready for school. She brushes and styles her hair and it is a good time of bonding for them. Once her daughter is ready, she cleans up their room and the kitchen by putting things away, making the beds, washing the dishes and sweeping.
After the children and their home are ready, Indira gets herself ready for work. She does her hair, which she pulls back for work safety at the sewing machines and changes into work clothes, wearing a “kurta,” a tunic which usually falls just above the knees.
Suburna leaves first for an early morning class, walking 30 mins to school. A little later, Indira and Sushmita leave together. Sushmita joins Suburna at school and Indira comes to Purnaa, which is about a 15-minute walk from their home. She starts work at 8:30am.
At Purnaa, Indira is the leader of her sewing team of 7 women. As the team leader, she organizes which station each member works at that day and encourages and assists the women on her team when they need extra help or training.
Indira has worked at Purnaa since it opened over three years ago. She really enjoys her job and is so thankful for the stability it provides for her and her children. Before working at Purnaa, her employer was not consistent with her paychecks and some months did not get paid at all, causing her to not be able to pay rent. But now working at Purnaa, she gets a consistent salary and gets paid at the same time every month so she knows for sure when and how much money she will receive.
She has made many friends while working at Purnaa. I often hear laughter coming from Indira’s team. They like to joke and have fun while they are working. Also during breaks and lunchtime I always see her chatting with other employees.
After work is finished at 5:30 pm, Indira walks home. Once there, she freshens up and changes out of her work kurta. She prepares dinner for her family, usually chapatti or chow mein. After they have finished dinner and cleaned up, they have a devotion time together as a family when they read the Bible and pray. During their devotion time they all share about their day and the things they did.
They spend the rest of their evening together reading, watching TV or playing games. Their favorite game to play is Uno. I was able to play a few games of Uno with them during my visit and they are definitely very skilled. I was lucky to win one game against them. Indira also likes to knit during her free time. Her favorite thing to knit is sweaters.
The love Indira has for her children and for God is very evident. They are major parts of her life. She has taught her children to love God as well and she works very hard to take care of them. I was honored to be able to see this small glimpse of her life.