Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 8 - Sooch Village

As we have seen at Rourkela and Sooch, the older children take on a parenting role. Ravi is the oldest boy at Sooch and is an example. At age 8, he has become one of the leaders. Without prompting, he quickly steps in as a father figure, retaining order, disciplining the younger ones who are out of line, assisting the staff and housemothers with every request. Santosh, also one of the oldest plays the same role. Today he and half a dozen other kids were building goal posts for their futbol field. After digging holes with a stick tied onto a spike, they used three long branches, to create a regulation size goal.

After some more quality time with the children, it was time to say our goodbyes. All of the children came out of their individual homes walking in a straight line over to the main admin building were we were preparing to get into our car. Silently, all 150 of them stood in front of us, some with a few tears in their eyes. We said thank you and goodbye and we were off, waving hands fading in the distance.

Today, we are to go back to Delhi. The Naxal influence is affecting a number pieces of the communication and transportation infrastructure in the areas in which they are active. A strike by the airline workers caused our original flight to be canceled. Barbara (our travel coordinator) quickly had us on another airline a couple of hours later. Barbara is a travel star. Throughout this trip, she coordinated everything: Every flight, every car, every hotel, every meal, confirming reservations and booking new ones when flights got canceled. From a travel logistics standpoint, this is the easiest trip I have ever taken. I didn’t have to think about a thing when it came to the travel. Barbara made what could have been an uncomfortable situation in a very foreign country very easy.  We split with Barbara in Ranchi and Amy, Susan and I hopped the flight back to Delhi. Barbara is staying India for another week completing work at some of the homes.

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