by Ambassador Mona Chamhidray
Day 6 (in Ranchi)
Today we spent the morning and afternoon in Ranchi. This gave everyone time to do some last minute shopping before heading to the temple. Barbara and Ana went on an early morning rickshaw ride to watch India wake up. They went to a local market and got to experience the buying and selling of local fruits and vegetables. The hotel we stayed at was great and the food and drinks were just what the group needed. Aside from losing Gina’s passport for a few hours, we had a wonderful time. Erik even managed to snag tandoori chicken to bring back to Sooch Village. It is only a matter of time before people start bartering rupees for bites of Erik’s chicken.
If anyone is not yet convinced to travel to India, Punjab sweets should definitely be enough to convince you. The sweet candies and desserts in India are delicious! And if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth, the spa just around the corner from our hotel was a great treat! Hot oil head massages, body massages, manicures and pedicures will make you feel like new. The shopping was also such a treat. Affordable and beautiful trinkets and clothing are everywhere in India. Some of us were able to purchase traditional Indian saris that are absolutely beautiful!
After check out, we headed to a temple nearby. Hiking up the hundreds of steps was worth the blessing and coconut we got at the top. The Brahman’s were very nice and the scenery at the top was beautiful.
After arriving back to Sooch village, we made it back just as the kids were just returning from school. They were especially excited to see us today since we had been gone.  Jasdeep taught them traditional Indian dances and we also managed to finish videos for sponsors. The playground was again taken over by fun and games early in the evening before the kids headed back to their homes. Our last full day at Sooch is tomorrow and none of us are looking forward to it. The kids, staff and food continue to brighten our hearts each day.
Day 7 (Back at Sooch)
Once again, we started early with yoga. We all even managed to do head stands! That got everyone ready for a big morning of gardening and robotics with Nicole in the computer room. The weather was perfect: breezy and temperate. So, no matter whether we were inside or out, we are able to stay comfortable and focus on the work at hand.
Erik was the team leader for the planting of annuals and perennials. That group finished quickly so they could get back to playing with the kids. Nicole (from National Instruments) led the way in the computer room with Amy, Tony, and Chris as her assistants. Even though the Lunch & Learn children don’t speak English or, for that matter, too much Hindi either, communication was absolutely no problem.  Immediately upon seeing the LEGO robots in action, the kids absolutely “got it” and they were quickly using the computers to make the LEGO crocodiles and soccer players move. They were enthralled! Thanks to Nicole and National Instruments for providing such an amazing learning experience for the children of The Miracle Foundation and the Lunch & Learn kids as well.
Then, we were off to the cottages to spend more time with the children and make notes for their Lifebooks. Once that was done, we were asked to babysit while Caroline took all the Housemothers to a tea party. We all went to the prayer hall to play, dance and practice the Jai Ho dance the children are learning. Then, it was time for our tea party, and the kids sat with remarkable patience and order as we passed out the sweets and snacks. Then more dancing to Jai ho and an incredible song by Mohan.
We closed another day exhausted and already missing the children since we have to leave tomorrow.