Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Two weeks in India now – time seems to be telescoping. In some ways it feels like I’ve been here far longer than that and in other ways it feels as if I just arrived. One thing I know for sure is that time moves differently here!   Here are some of my more memorable moments:

1. Watching as the boys and girls stood in straight lines dressed in their crisp uniforms, singing their morning song and reciting their morning prayer, as the sun rose over Sooch Village and they prepared to head off to school.

2. Being coached by Nanki, the cook at Sooch Village, in the art of chipati making (the flat bread eaten throughout India).

3. Meeting the amazing children of Sooch Village and watching as they lit up when I would look them in the eye and say their name.

4. Holding sweetly sleeping babies.

5. Sitting with 100 quiet children in the Prayer Hall every evening for meditation and singing, with such intensity and purpose.

6. Hand -washing my clothes AND showering  in a bucket  – AND by flashlight — several times!

7. Making the 45-minute drive into the city of Ranchi to purchase bracelets and fingernail polish for the housemothers at the Big Bazaar (the Costco of India). And, later, watching as they graciously accepted their gifts. . . .

8. Getting to know Mr. and Mrs. Mehta, the warm and loving couple who have recently come out of retirement in order to give back and are now managing Sooch Village.

9. Making the 20-minute drive to Kunti, the closest village, to do a few simple errands. Mr. Mehta, the problem solver and translator, joined us and was invaluable, as even simple tasks become incredibly complicated for us “foreigners.”

10. Photographing Mrs. Mehta as she made rounds to each of the cottages, distributing clothes to the children.

11. Wiping children’s noses with the little cloths conveniently pinned to their shirts.

12. Playing rousing games of Bulldog and Capture the Flag with the children and the UT students in the cricket field.

13. Striving to photograph all the beautiful faces, happy smiles, and daily routines that make up Sooch Village.

14. Meeting kindly Mr. Koul, the new director of our Children’s Home in Rourkela, as he arrived at Sooch to attend strategy meetings with Caroline and the staff.

15. Watching the smiles begin to spread across the faces of the Housemothers as they “slowly, slowly” joined us on the dance floor and we celebrated the UT group’s last night of service for our children.

16. Listening intently as Caroline told the UT group the heartrending story of how she was moved to begin The Miracle Foundation.

17. Attending the children’s weekend morning yoga class and joining in as my friend Laura added to their regular routine by teaching the sun salutation.

18. Departing Sooch Village and feeling a tug at my heart. All the while knowing this wasn’t really goodbye. I would be back in a matter of days for one more visit before returning home.

19. Heading off to Rourkela and feeling the anticipation of meeting a whole new group of miraculous children.