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The Miracle Blog

About to head to the Bhawani Orphanage

Sorry for the delay in posting. Monsoon season and satellite internet do not mix. The shot above is from the fourth floor of our hotel. Jumbled thoughts follow.

Last we talked we were spending out last day at the Rourkela orphanage, on our way to the Bhawani orphanage. That was on Sunday night and it is currently Wednesday afternoon here so adjust your clocks accordingly. We left Rourkela about 7:30 PM on our way to Bhawani. The group took the train while one of our driver Bishaun (?) and I drove the 160 KM to Jharsuguda (JSG), which is an up and coming city/town in eastern India. Plans for an airport here are in the works which will make the city boom even more. Many of the hotels were booked solid when we arrived.

The ride down here was a bit harrowing. Like I said, it was just our driver and I, driving the 160 KM in the pitch black, with the most intense rains falling on us that I’ve ever seen in my life. We saw one large dump truck crashed on its side as we drove. During the ride, Bishaun and I bonded over some betel nut mixture, which is a mild, tobaccish chew you put in your mouth. It tasted a lot like sandalwood incense.

We arrived in JSG about 10:30 PM and because of a me mixing up what hotel I was supposed to be at, didn’t see the rest of the group until Monday morning. The word is they thought we had died on the way down to JSG and I couldn’t blame them when I looked at it from their perspective. We were all supposed to meet up at the same hotel and I was supposed to deliver the luaggage. When 3 AM rolled around and I wasn’t there (I was asleep in my bed at that time just down the road), people got understandably scared.

But, it all worked out in the end. We drove to the Bhawani orphanage yesterday afternoon and were immediately greeted by over 100 children. Within five minutes, I had shaked at least fifty hands and seen a thousand smiles. We were also greeted to a newly rennovated Bhawani orphanage. Before we came, Caroline had advised the group that this orphanage was more “typical” of India and that we should adjust our expectations accordingly. But we arrived to newly concrete floors (they had been dirt), a new roof that didn’t leak and wiring that was now encased in metal tubing. Before the rennovation, the wires in the home were exposed. This created holes for Cobra snakes (Yes, Cobras) to move in and out of the orphange.

We spent a couple of hours there, getting to know our kids a bit better. The kids at Bhawani are older and many of them are not true orphans. Some children’s parents simply could not afford to care for them and gave them

And speaking of those children’s parents, before we travled to Bhawani, we drove about an hour and half outiside of JSG to a village where one of the Bhawani children had come from. This drive was an amazing trip though one of the Forest Divisions, where wild elephants roamed. There wasn’t much civilization to speak of on this drive, only the occassional road side building or set of buildings. This was truly as a remote location as I had ever been to in my life. We arrived at the village and toured a small set of mud and brick huts where the villagers lived. A dozen or so people made up the little housing area we toured and 17 homes and families made up the village. The homes were quite spread out, with rice patties seperating them. Lush, green mountains towered over us just a quarter mile from the village.

We met the villagers, which had only rarely in their lives seen Westerners. Like I said, it was very remote. We handed out candy, pulled some water from their well and laughed with the villagers as our house mothers translated our conversations with them. Just like the children we’ve visited, these villagers laughed with great big smiles.

It’s almost 3 PM and we’re off to the orphanage to play with the kids again. Hopefully, I will be able to blog some more

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