Well today was no different from yesterday in terms of being totally pooped. We continued our morning routine, and at this point its like we're in the movie groundhog day. The only bad thing is that they don't like to bring the coffee until the end of the meal and because we are usually running late I never get to finish it and it is so delicious...but that is neither here nor there.
We left the office and headed to Sanlaap again today and we had one of the aftercare workers from the office coming along as well as Mahdu. When we got there we set up right away and we were in the same setup as yesterday because we wanted to be with the same girls. Since 2 of the groups had already gotten to do the dreamcatchers, they just did the beading and then did finger painting before lunch. My group and another group needed to do the dreamcatchers so we did that and the beading before lunch. It was really neat because Mahdu stayed in my group for most of the day and after we finished them she explained what they were and we handed out slips of paper and asked the girls to write down what their goal or dream in life was. Some of the girls could not write, so Mahdu wrote for them. It was just a really cool experience to see what these girls had envisioned for their lives and what dreams they wanted for themselves. I feel that it gave us a better picture of the girls personalities for sure. Also, yes I realize we changed what a dreamcatcher was originally used for but that is beside the point.
After that we had some lunch and I got to talk to Mahdu about Wellspring and we talked about similarities and differences between the girls and how they act and respond to things in their lives. It was a really good conversation and she is just so very awesome. She is from Chennai and has been in Kolkata for about 4 months working with IJM on the aftercare team.
Our next activity after lunch was to decorate fabric squares that were meant to be tied together to make a community quilt. We had paint, fabric markers, beads and thread for them to use. It was a little bit difficult because Mahdu was going to help Julia with the project and so she gave the instructions but then left so I was left for a little bit trying to sign language with the girls (which always turns out to be funny). The girls were not exactly understanding the concept of sharing, although I don't blame them because it is not that often that they get to do crafts like this so I understand why they want the most beads or colors or paint. I am always amazed by how crafty the girls are, and am just in awe of how they are able to do all the creative things they come up with. One of my girls who I found out she was just 10, drew a picture with my name on it that was so sweet. She put her name beside my name with our ages next to it as well.
I also had this woman ask me to hold her new baby which was awesome but I also think she just wanted to not hold her for a few minutes because she would not let me give her back and my arms were sweating from holding her for so long.
After they finished with those, it was time to set up for their "exhibition"...we moved tables and hung some string around the outdoor pavilion and hung their work on it. Because we can't take pictures of the girls, we knew we wanted to have some pictures of the work that they did and it was just amazing seeing it all there together and completed. They seriously did such a great job with all of it and I was so impressed. That lasted a little bit of time but then it was time to say good bye. We gave the girls hugs and thanked the staff for allowing us to come and experience the home and do that stuff with the girls. It is such a touching experience to only be with some kids for a short amount of time and to see some of them begin to attach to you and want to hug you or touch you. It makes my heart so happy, I could just do that all day long. I know there is so much that can be communicated just by attitude and body language. It was sad to go but we were all very tired after being there all day.
On the way home from there we were talking in the car and we found out that Mahdu had been kicked out of her home because she was a Christian. She was talking about how it was so nice that our families let us come and take a week off and things like that, and I was thinking well of course they let me come because I'm doing something kingdom related. I know that there a probably many different people with stories like that but this is the first one that is so severe that I have heard and it just made me so thankful and grateful for being a part of a family of Christians and that we are so close and love and support one another. Knowing that they are a kind of safety net is very comforting, especially being far away.
When we got back to the hotel we did a quick freshen up and then went off to dinner with some of the IJM interns at a place right near our hotel. It was nice to have a chill dinner and laugh with them about our day and just life. Chris came back from his day with the investigative intern and it sounded like he had a productive day as well so that was good to hear. We had 'chinese' although it seemed more like thai food and it was really good. After dinner we went to see Khushboo and her family for a little bit. We came back to the hotel and did our debrief time and then just all came to our own rooms cause we were so tired. We are doing some touring around tomorrow so I can't wait to write about all that tomorrow night!
me with the random baby :)
All of their great work
My little friends piece with my name on it
the girls with Mahdu
visiting with Khushboo and teaching Julia how to make chapati