The bus speeds along the dust road towards the orphanage building leaving a dust cloud behind it. All the children with beaming faces run to get the best seat next to the diver which ends up not just being one seat but 5 seats as they squish into the front. This was a small trip we organized for 30 of the smaller children many of the older children have exams at this time of year so on the 15th we took them to the local zoo, gardens and park. Ice cream was also a highlight of the day, but for one boy who ate his ice cream and then went round on the roundabout so fast that his stomach must have been still rotating when the ice cream reappeared over the fence!
We also had a day trip to the most southern point of India this past week we took the eldest orphan with us who is 19, he had never seen the sea before so it was amazing to see him experience his first sight of the ocean. Where we were in Kanyakamuri the Indian Ocean, Arabic Ocean and Bay of Bengal all meet so it’s not a bad spot to see your first bit of sea! We then went to take a ferry ride to some historic temple…it’s always a bit disconcerting when you board a ferry and have to wear your life jacket ‘just in case’!
Work on the orphanage is progressing well the beams now connecting the pillars are now built and the store building is completed. Each pillar is now being added to with more metal. Most of the expenses are being supported by generous people from the West. Some of the materials has also been kindly sponsored by local companies who wish to help with the construction.
As it is the lead up to Christmas if the children have any families then they are visiting them now. We met one child’s mother while she was working in a supermarket and we had to promise to bring her 2 daughters next time. We obtained permission and took her two daughters, when she saw us she left the checkout and bought enough biscuits to fill a whale for them to take back. She spent some time with them and as we left there were tear streaming down her face, this lady has to work 6 days a week from 9am to 9pm to live in a women hostel and cant support her children.
One recent event was some carol singers, they had contacted the orphanage to say that they would arrive at 10am to sing to the children, finally at 1am in the morning they arrive all the children forced themselves awake to get only a few carols and a prayer before they made an exit. I sometimes wonder how the children are so awake/can function as many of the older ones study until the early hours of the morning before getting up at 5 or 6am. 3 hours sleep per night seems to be the price you pay in India for a good education and an escape from poverty.