Wednesday, March 08, 2006

BBay part cricket

So i keep meaning to write more about my bombay trip, and I keep forgetting. Now I decided I will comment some on my time visiting with da boyz.

The second week I was in Mumbai, I volunteered a couple hours a day at a home run by nuns for street kids. The one I visited housed 20 boys. At first, I was totally nervous, because I never consider myself to be "good" working with boys, but rather assume I am good working with girls. This experience proved my assumptions wrong. Sure, the boys were a little rowdy from time to time, but they were great! I brought Uno and another game to teach them, and we spent some time sketching, making masks, and (I think it may have been the winner) making puppets! When not being artsy inside, I would go with them to the park and they would teach me how to play. I was taught the basics of cricket (well of batting) and played badminton and also the youngest boy Akash tried to teach me everyday how to properly spin tops. These tops are the cool kind that you wrap a piece of string around and then have to fling. Many of the boys can do awesome tricks with their tops, like fling them into the air and catch them (still spinning) in the palm of their hand. I, on the other hand, only managed to get the top to spin around a bit a few times, after many intense lessons from Akash, who was NOT going to give up on my lack of top-spinning skills.

Also, Akash really liked to take my hand and take me around. On the first day I was their, another boy sat down next to me, and just looked at me smiling. All of these boys were so sweet.

The nuns told me a bit about the home. They told me how all of these boys were found in places like train stations on their own. Slowly, volunteers would get to know them, find out why they were there, where their parents were (if they had them)and then would eventually invite them to come stay at this home (if they desired). At the home, they would get a chance to go to school, a warm, comfy place to stay, three meals a day, tutoring and homework help, and so forth. There was a guy who grew up at the home, now grown, with a good education and a job, who came and visited all the time.

In addition to the many kids found on the streets, some where orphans, like my Akash (oh how I wanted to steal him and his brother and take them home with me!) and another boy Kapil, who was found abandoned as a baby. He lived his toddler years elsewhere, then was moved to this home. Everyone described him as "a little off in the head" and upon meeting him I absolutely loved him! He is "a little off" (I don't know how) but he is also sweet, loving, engages with people, loves to play creatively, and talkative. He is around 8 (I would guess) and does not yet know how to read and write, but I noticed the other boys don't let him do a lot of stuff either (I was letting him glue his own mask, but the other boys got upset that he was smushing the glue stick). He also was extremely good at following directions even when he was not happy about them. He asked if he could go to the park to play with the other boys, and the head nun told him no because he has "fits" sometimes and she doesn't want him to fall down and get hurt (She didn't explain this any further to me). And he looked sad but then quickly found an indoor game to busy himself. Also all the other boys love him. Everyone always makes sure to show him affection by giving him a hug, greeting him, or giving him a pat on the back. The head nun told me they are trying to get him adopted by an American Family... But I don't know the details.

Another sweet boy was Gopala. He is missing his leg from a little below his knee down. My "interpreter" (another sweetie, a bit older, who loved to play sports in the park with me) told me "Gopala got run over by a train. That's why his leg is gone. He gets sad about that" Gopala has a fake leg thing, but it doesn't work too well. He is not allowed to go play in the park either. He can be very quiet, and keeps himself away from the other boys a lot. Once his leg (which has weird scars) touched somebody else and the kick smacked him. He started crying, and I went and sat by him. He said he was crying coz it hurt him, but I wonder if it was really because the boy said his leg was so gross, rather than being hit.

Anyways, each boy has his own story, and they were all such great kids. I really enjoyed doing art with them and playing with them.

Front left is Kapil, next is my lovely interpreter, two over is Akash, one row up (behind Kapil) is Gopala. Unfortunately, since I was there such a short time, I didn't get a chance to learn all their names, but I remember each one and special things about each of them anyways!

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