How many of you have slept on a pillow pretty much every night of your entire life?
Had the opportunity to have a whole piece of fruit all to yourself if you wanted it?
Have ever painted, taken a picture with a camera, played volleyball or badminton, or had very basic piano lessons?
I’d say that about all of us have probably done these things or at least most of them. Here in India, however, I just spent the past few days with 100 children who have NEVER gotten any of these things.
They’ve never had a pillow.
They’ve never painted before.
They’ve never had a whole mango to themself.
A chicken meal is a LUXURY.
These things are part of the reason that getting to come to summer camp for the first time ever was such a big deal for these kids. We take SO many things for granted as Americans, but being here and seeing kids who have SO much less than us is majorly eye opening.
Summer camp was a week of things that these kids have never gotten to do before. It was a week for them to play. To be kids. To enjoy themselves! And to make memories. It was quite literally the best week they have EVER had.
Every day consisted of two worship services in which one of us four white people would speak as well. There were of course three meals a day (rice and some sort of curry), rest times, and free time filled with coloring, puzzles, volleyball, and cricket. There were also nine different workshops that each child got 45 minutes in each of. These workshops included painting (read my last post for my perspective as the teacher of this class!), photography, badminton, volleyball, piano lessons, and other games and music classes.
Almost every workshop was a COMPLETELY new experience for these children and they LOVED it!
On the first night, each child got their very own pillow for the first time ever. They were so excited! I talked to some of the kids a few days later and they all told me that they loved getting to sleep on their pillows. It’s the simple things, isn’t it?
For snack one day each child also got their own entire mango to themselves. 180 mangos were slurped up in no time (okay, that’s not entirely true – there is a crate of leftovers in our kitchen right now waiting to be turned into mango ice cream, mango smoothies, and just plain eaten by us four white people. ;) But most of them were eaten!) and the kids were ECSTATIC to have gotten their very own mango.
It was such a joy and a HUGE privilege to be a part of bringing these kids such joy. Sure things went wrong and were very frustrating. Sure, there were other things I could have been more comfortable doing for 13 straight hours than being in the hot Indian sun with no air conditioning but no shortage of sweaty children wanting to love on me. But getting to help these kids experience so many of life’s great joys was such a phenomenal thing to be part of!
We are EX-HAU-STED and so glad camp is done, as great as it was. All good things must come to an end, and this good thing did not come to an end a moment too soon. :) We came home and collapsed. Chicken paninis from Caramel were a perfect dinner and tomorrow morning will be fresh baked cinnamon rolls (also from Caramel) as our hooray camp is over breakfast!
To top off the night, there is a BEAUTIFUL thunder and lightning storm going on right now! No rain, and there probably won’t be any, but the sky is alive and it is beautiful!
Check back soon for another post about my adventures as a cricket superstar (okay, maybe not a superstar… :))