Tikone Family -- Habitat for Humanity Int'l 1
Maruti and Jyoti look forward to the simple ways in which their lives will be improved by their new Habitat house.
Maruti and Jyoti
Running water, a toilet, a roof that doesn’t leak... These are simple things that could make life better for Maruti Baban Tikone and his family. They hope to enjoy these improvements as home partners in the 2006 JCWP.
Maruti, his wife Jyoti, their two young children, and his mother Sitabai all share a small house with five members of Maruti’s brother’s family. They would like to have their own home.
At least once a day Jyoti walks 20 minutes to the lake where she and the other villagers get their water. She fills one or two metal jugs—some take three—and stacks them on her head for the long walk home.
During the monsoon, rain comes in through cracks in the eaves and pours through holes in their roof. “We store cow dung and wood in the loft to keep it dry for fuel. We put buckets up there to catch the rain; it is a continuous process to empty them,” said Sitabai.
For most of the year, Maruti operates a machine for a company that makes auto parts. Yet he still follows traditional ways; he and the other family members farm a small plot to produce most of their food. Bullocks pull the plow. To fertilize the field and kill weed seeds, they spread cow dung and dried grass on the ground and burn them. They grow rice seedlings in a small plot in time to transplant them to the wet paddy field in June.
Rice, the major crop, is dependent on the monsoon rains. Before the rain comes, Maruti and Jyoti must repair the rock and dirt walls that enclose their field and hold the water in. Last year’s heavy rains broke the wall.
Sitabai demonstrates the typical use of dried grass to protect the mud house from monsoon rains.
Sitabai Ganpat Tikone, a widow, and the families of her three sons live in a deteriorating house made of mud plastered onto a stick frame with a packed-earth floor. The scrap-tin roof is tied on. There are no windows, but light streams through the cracks in the roof and walls—just like the rain will pour in when the rainy season comes. Smoke from the kitchen fire escapes through a small wall vent.
During the monsoon rains, Sitabai’s sons put plastic up on the leaky roof to keep out the rain. Sitabai and her daughters-in-law make bundles of tall grasses and attach them to the outside walls to keep the rain from washing away the dried-mud walls. As the days of rain stretch on, they battle to keep their home from washing away.
Yet the monsoon is a blessing for a farming family. Farming is the family occupation, but Sitabai’s second son, Vinayak, also travels an hour by train to work in a lab, and his younger brother Ravindra is newly employed in a housekeeping job. When they can, the sons take leave to work the fields. Otherwise Sitabai and her three daughters-in-law hire laborers to help them do the work. On a small acreage they grow rice, then pulses or wheat. If the rains are good, there is excess to sell.
For 10 years Sitabai has saved money with a women’s self-help group. She learned how to save, to borrow and to repay a loan. She borrowed money when Vinayak was married, as well as during her first son’s fatal illness. Now Sitabai is confident that, with Habitat’s help, her hard-working family can have a better house.