Anjali Shah – Her amazing work
At the end of January I went to a place called Rayagada to visit a children's home and a tribal village that Brighter Future Supports. Getting there didn't go to plan as we managed to miss the stop we were meant to get off at, even though the train was stood at our station for 30 minutes! I now refuse to go on any trains alone, it is too complicated and if a native Indian can't do it then I have no chance! So we ended up in a remote village at 1am, there was absolutely nothing apart from a newspaper factory. Surprisingly it was freezing cold, luckily the director from the children's home managed to persuade an auto driver to come all the way and get us. We eventually got to the home at 3am.The children were all very happy, bright and naughty! They had all come from the tribal village because either their parents have died or they do not have enough money to feed them. The next day we went to visit the tribal village which was extremely eyeopening, we had to walk about 4 kilometers to get to the village uphill because the auto driver would not take us. It was a tough walk in the scorching heat which made me think how difficult it must be for people living there, they have to go up and down this hill everyday for work and to collect crops/firewood. As I was walking through the village I came across a tiny baby on a cot. I later found out that the baby had been born only a week ago, she was teeny tiny and so beautiful :). Brighter Future helps this village and makes sure the children attend school and have at least one good meal a day of rice, dhal, vegetables and egg. There was no electricity in the village so by 6pm it was pitch black and the children had to eat in the dark:(. This month I have been to a place called Srikhakulam where Brighter Future gives out medicines and food packets to men and women who are HIV+. The people also get a change to sit with Victor (the director) and talk about any problems they are facing. We also went to a few leprosy colonies to give out food and medical support. At one of the leprosy colonies I was greeted with a huge hug from an old lady that I saw last time. I felt so humbled that she remembered me! I saw a lot of familiar faces there and it was great to see how they were doing. On 5th Feb all the children from the rainbow home went on their annual picnic, the day started at 4.30am! We traveled there on a big bus that fit all the children and staff, the children were dancing down the aisle most of the way there.The children enjoyed the day very much, we went up Kailash Hill where we ate a breakfast of idli and upma (it's like savoury cake), and then went to Vuda park for lunch and played on the slides and swings. The day was finished off with a trip to the beach where the children swam in the sea and played in the sand. I was sent in the sea to act as a wall so the children wouldn't go too far out! A few days later we did the whole thing again for the HIV children's homes. This time the bus was bursting with children as we took 3 homes together! Last week I spent most of the week at Prem Nivas (the original home that I stayed at in 2008). I taught maths and English classes to the children and did art activities with them. I painted their hands with henna and taught them how to make friendship bracelets. They found the bracelets too hard to do so now I am spending all me free time covered in string making them for everyone! I made the mistake of showing them to the Rainbow home and now every time I leave my room I here 'Sister my one bracelet!' Or they come up to me showing me their wrists saying 'my no', meaning they don't have one. One of the other homes Shanti Nivas has just had a sports ground built on it. A Lady called Sue Davies who sadly died from cancer last year left the money for Brighter Future in her will. So yesterday we had a sports day where the ground was opened, the children played volleyball, kabadi and cricket. The children traveled from all the homes to celebrate and take part. They had a brilliant day and they were very excited because now they have somewhere to play:). I am having a fantastic time and really enjoying spending time with all the children. I have promised the children that this evening I will let them teach me how to dance (wish me luck!).
I promise I will update again soon!