Water for Birds



Thursday, July 4, 2019
Hadiyabad, Bihar

A handful of boys and girls enthusiastically carry a bowl filled with water to the roof top of the village coordinator’s house. This is where Urmila is teaching them how to providewater for little birds during the hot summer months. The children seem to intrinsically understand the hour of their need. The conversation between Urmila and the children flows naturally as compassion meets knowledge. Birds, animals, and humans all have the same  basic need: drinking water.

 The children are gathered around the bowl when Urmila asks:

– Who do we put water out for?

– For the birds, the children answer.

– If we don’t leave water for the birds, what will happen?

– The birds will die of thirst, one school-aged girl responds.

– If we don’t water a sapling or tree, it will die. When you do kitchen gardening, if you don’t water, the plants will die. And if we don’t drink water, we will not survive. Now, when you go home, everyone try to find a small pot that you don’t use to fill with water and put on the roof.

Urmila continues by giving an example for everyone to relate to: “If we go somewhere and are really thirsty, but we don’t get water, we will be so frustrated. We want only water then. Similarly, the birds cannot speak, but if they don’t get water, they will be in the same situation.”

The teaching expands to include all flora and fauna: “To save plants, we water them. We also give water to our animals. We have the knowledge to drink and find drinking water. Animals do, too, but they cannot always get it by themselves. They keep searching for water.”

Urmila kneels down and explains to the smallest girl: “The sparrow will sit on the edge and drink the water we put in the bowl. When the bowl is empty, we will fill it again.” The little girl listens and nods her understanding.  Clapping their hands, the children express their enthusiasm for caring for the birds.

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