I would use one word to describe the ladies at Sari Bari. Family. They are mothers and daughters and grandmothers and sisters to each other. When babies come to work, they are passed around from one lady to another. They treat the child as if it was their own as they feed him or play with him. They each take turns giving him love in the form of hugs and kisses. This little boy has 30 aunties to help him grow up. There are also times when an older child comes for the day because schools have a holiday. It is so much fun to watch the women shower them with love in the form of candy or ice cream. The women get to see these children grow and love them each step of the way.
There are also times where the Sari Bari family grieves together. They come together to support a woman who lost her husband. Some of the woman can cry with her as they know the pain of losing a husband. They support the woman who lost her sister and sit with her in the heartache. If a woman is in the hospital, they will go visit her. If a woman is sick, they will go check on her. They have become family as they choose to love each other through the hard times.
It has been a gift to be welcomed into the Sari Bari family if only for a brief time. The women have cared for me in ways that I sometimes don't understand. (For example: I hurt my back lifting a bag of product and they all told me to go ask one of the ladies for Vick's Vapor Rub because it would help the pain.) Recently, I have been bringing a sandwich for lunch so the ladies have been offering me rice to make sure I have enough to fill me up. They offer me puffed rice or sweets during tea time. They yell at me if I am working during the lunch hour. I feel truly loved by these women. They have sewn themselves into my heart and my story. They have taught me how to love well.
I will be leaving this crazy, chaotic city in 2 short weeks. Plans have been made for a debrief retreat and my last day at Sari Bari. I am counting down how many more times I have to hand wash my laundry. (16 times in case you were wondering.) I am looking forward to AC and seeing my family. I am dreading saying goodbye to people who have helped me navigate and love this city.