Wednesday, January 13, 2016

GUEST BLOG: HMM Orphanage from a Teen's Perspective

This is Jordan.  I'm back with my second guest blog.  This one is about the first service project of this trip: our work at the HMM Orphanage. 

The HMM Orphanage is an all-girls orphanage in the heart of Trivandrum, and the girls that lived there really made the jumble of buildings they lived in a home. On the first day, we were welcomed by an entrance festival with drums and dancing.

The girls were all lined up to receive us

The welcome line gave each of us a shell necklace and dabbed red and gold paint on our forehead for good luck.

Each of us got a group of girls to keep track of.  My group called ourselves "Team Butterfly" and with me at the lead there would be no other group to stand in our way. Or at least that was my thinking at the time… Some do say I have delusions of grandeur.  This is a photo of my team and I working on a craft project.

Anyways, after a quick tour of their rooms, all the kids helped us start painting their rooms as they had been just solid white when we arrived. They sleep in bunk beds. Two girls to a bed.

Though my brilliant mind most certainly could have come up with some decorations that would blow the socks off anyone who saw them, I was placed in paint mixing instead of creative design. Granted, I was placed there by myself but I’m not taking back what I said about the socks. The painting was very messy but also very colorful. These kids really like color.

My hands after a few hours of paint mixing

After about several hours of painting (in the 100 degree heat) most of us were sufficiently tired and drenched in sweat, so we all stopped for lunch. Lunch was a delicious mixture of rice, chapatti bread, and a potato curry. We ate off banana leaves instead of plates.

We then painted all afternoon and ended the day by dancing with the kids before heading to the hotel in TukTuks for some much needed rest. 

Day 2: HMM: The next day we all got back to the orphanage in the morning and started doing crafts with the kids. My team painted my fingernails and then we finished our team flag we had been making. And the girls did henna on our hands as well.

After crafts, we taught the kids English using a Rosetta Stone type educational program on the computers we brought to India.  There were 10 or more kids to each computer.

The boys then got dressed in dhotis (Indian man skirts) and button up shirts. We were rocking the look!! 

The guys then proceeded to have a cook-off where we had to make Pongel (a traditional Indian dish meant for special occasions). It has rice and bananas and coconut and is cooked over just wood in a clay pot.  

I ended up losing because I put the rice in too early, causing it to solidify as it cooled. But don’t take that as me saying I’d say no if I ever got asked to make it again. 

Meanwhile the girls got dressed up in saris and the kids helped them do their hair

We all then went to a nearby temple. How weird is this? To get into the temple the girls had to be dressed up in nice clothes or saris but the boys had to take off their shirts!! 

Day 3: HMM: On the last day with the kids, we took them on an outing to the beach and a park.  

We all dipped our toes in the water but could not swim because of the bad currents.  I got my team a decent amount of points in cricket. 

We helped hand out ice cream to the girls, and then headed back to HMM to say goodbye and take photos before we left. Some of the girls cried to leave. I think everyone was sad.

Kerala House Boats:  The next day we drove a few hours and got onto houseboats for the night.  Not only were these boats marvels of engineering, but they also are the definition of relaxation. Each boat has three bedrooms on it and the whole thing has running water and power, even while going down the river. They cruise through the riverways and the outsides are made of thatched hay.

When we stopped at a town, some boys came by in their school uniforms and asked us to give them pens. They said they needed them for their exams.  Rainey and I gave them pens but they were not really nice ones. Just pens we got at the last hotel.

I didn’t do much of anything for the day we were on them except sleep, eat, and be happy. It was a fantastic relaxation after dealing with 80+ energetic girls for three days. I got to catch up on my sleep and read a book before we got off and headed to the airport to fly to Mumbai. 

Just an idea of some of the things you see out of the window as we drive along in India

An elephant. I guess it was just hanging out in its front yard

Monkeys are everywhere

A woman cleaning fish

Women working in the rice paddies


Unknown said...

Thanks Jords

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