India, Day 7 - The Welcome Wagon
Upon arrival at my second host's home in India, I was greeted by a fresh crowd: the orphans he cares for. I had met this group of children on my first trip to India, several years before. I never got the chance to get to know them, but my time with them on this trip more than made up for it.
All of these children are supported by Compassion International. Compassion is a wonderful organization, and the support it provides to children all over the world, including India, Africa, Central and South America, allows them to have education, skills training, food and water. They might still live in open-air houses without utilities, but their lives are enriched with nutrition and knowledge.
This group, by American standards, have no right to be as happy as they are. They live in an unsealed cement house with no running water and a few hours of electricity a day. They go to school for eight hours a day and spend four more in homework and revisions. They work hard and study hard. Yet they have the biggest hearts and smiles you could ever dream of. Whenever they have visitors, they welcome them into the house with songs and a dance or two. Even though I was only one person, they still put on the full show.
I spent a love of time with the kids in my off hours between projects with my host. We played games, I helped them with their English and sat with them to do my own journaling while they worked on their work every morning and evening. My contributions to their days always felt minimal at best, but the whole crew still treated me like one of the family, and when I got sick a few days later, they were insistent about doing as much for me as possible. I defy you to find a sweeter group of children anywhere on the planet.