A little over a month ago my plane touched base at Bombay Airport. Since, I have experienced many new things and met many new people. If I had to report on everything, this blog entry would be much too long. Hence, I will share a portion of my time that I have come to quite appreciate.
Around two weeks back, the school holiday began here in the village. With that, the children here at Agape Village were allowed to return home and reconnect with their families. Day after day, the number of people around the table at dinner grew less. Many mornings were filled with children waiting anxiously for mum and dad to arrive. The waiting was generally followed by loud, joyful screams in combination with excited laughter. For me, it was quite sobering to see kids be so very grateful for their parents, in contrast to me who had always taken this for granted.
Eventually, by the start of May, only one young boy was left. For the sake of this Blog, let us call him Raj. Suddenly, all of Raj’s friends, his roommates had left. No partners for cricket, to do homework alongside, no one to have a good laugh with. Fortunately for him, I too was missing companions to spend time with. Soon enough, it was decided that I was to teach Raj English and he was to teach me Marathi. Not too long later, Raj had learned some key phrases. His source for this newfound knowledge was, to a large extent, my interaction with our housefather Kaka who likes to use phrases like “Come, sit here” or “Go, have tea” and a personal favourite, “please, have more food”. Quite comically, Raj began using the same terminology, speaking to me much like an older man, even impersonating the facial expressions of our house father. This brought me much joy and with time, Raj and I began to bide our time best we could. This included teaching each other new games and perfecting old ones. I taught Raj how to ride a bike and he taught me how to touch my nose with my tongue. That said, it’s not all fun and games. Our daily routine also includes chores, Math and Marathi homework, and often general work that must be done around the property.
I have begun to quite enjoy my time here at Agape Village with the young adults, the house parents and with Raj. Even when I start my day on the wrong side of the bed, my mood is soon set straight by some mischievous deed of one of the kids, bringing a smile to my face. Soon enough, all the kids will return from home and Raj and I will return to our busy daily routines, but until then, we will do our best to squeeze the maximum joy out of every day.
Many joyful greetings from the village,