Saturday, December 19, 2009
We met at the Vasant Vihar building at 8:00 AM to assemble hygiene kits that were then to be delivered to 109 children at a home in Gurgaon, the Deepalaya Gusbethi. The children there are not all orphans, some came from "distressed" homes, others had been picked up from the streets and the railway stations. At the home, they have a school, are being taught life skills, and have food and a place to sleep. This was the first Area initiative humanitarian project we had undertaken, but only because our plate was already full with major initiatives. Sister Tanner, the District YW President and the District YM President, Praveen Beesa, wanted to have a youth service activity before Christmas. Sister Tanner turned to a good missionary she knew to work up a project request in order to obtain funding. It took a little time for the project request process to be completed, but we got approval and then went after the needed goods. Actually, the timeline was such we went after the goods and still haven't gotten the money, but it is there. Just some of the behind the scenes things that are not apparent in the blog posts.
After we arrived and went to the courtyard, the children, who had been involved games outside, came in. After everyone was settled and introductions completed, our youth sangs carols to the children and we were serenaded in return (see a video at the end of the post). That was followed by a couple of hygiene demonstrations, then some fun and games together. After all of that, our youth distributed the hygiene kits and blankets to some excited young people, some who showed it more than others.
We see so much abject poverty on the streets and children living in horrible conditions that it was good to see some that had been rescued and were being given hope through the charity and love of others who founded the Deepalaya organization and raise funds to keep this home and several others going.
One other vignette to share. Max, 7, the young son of Brother Beesa, came with his father and on his own initiative brought his best toys and gave them to some of the boys there. He really was into the spirit of the project and did something that speaks volumes. And a little child shall lead them ...
Each hygiene kit had 2 hand towels, 2 toothbrushes, a tube of tooth paste, 2 bars of soap, and a comb.
Bagged and ready to load the bus.
Sister Tanner and I both wished we could take some of these little ones home with us.
The children were given instruction in washing their hands for as long as it took to sing Happy Birthday, a song they all knew. It gave a time reference for how long you should rub with the soap on your hands. Here they are following Sister Tanner by washing their hands to the song.
A couple of our young men provided instruction and a demonstration on the proper way to brush your teeth. Up and down.
See the hokey pokey video at the end.
I don't care what language they speak or what age they are, Sister Tanner has a gift for teaching and connecting with the young.
In addition to the hygiene kits, each child was also given a blanket. Here they are being readied before being distributed. These were really good quality fleece like blankets that were oh so soft to touch, but heavy enough to provide warmth on cold nights.
There were smiles and excitement from many when the hygiene kits and blankets were distributed.
And we couldn't go without a treat as each child was given a piece of Christmas cake.
Our youth standing behind the children after they all got organized for this group picture.
Sister Tanner said she saw several of the young ones who were sitting on their blankets that had worked a hole in the plastic carry bag and had their hands inside just stroking the soft blanket with their fingers.