Our visit to Orissa children’s home was in much anticipation to meet again the children. We planned this trip in such a way that we could use our time to interact with the children and establish a connection with them. This was something our team missed in our 2014 visit and we didn’t want a repeat of that. It also helped that we were three persons travelling this time than two, which gave us more leeway to plan and have more activities with the children.
During our two day long journey by train and car, Roy and Sunjeet were trying to recollect the names of all the 60 children by looking at their profile photos. I was surprised that they could recollect quite a lot of names and to their credit these guys do have a pretty sharp memory.
For me on my first trip to Orissa children’s home, I was not stressed that I couldn’t get to remember more than five to seven names out of sixty by looking at their photos. My eagerness was this chance to meet these lovely kids face to face, and travelling more than 7000km to India was for this primary objective.
Finally we arrived to the children’s home! The view has changed from our last visit due to the new construction efforts and the children were waiting for us in a line behind the new steel gate. Brother SK Nayak and his wife welcomed us with a shawl gift and washing of the feet. We were also greeted by the other assistant care takers. Then the children with three flowers garlanded us and touched our feet to receive our blessings (a traditional Indian custom).
The children then greeted us with an Oriyan welcome song with a loud voice which revebrated in the newly constructed hall. Brother SK Nayak introdúced me to the children who gave an apprehensive hello, and when brother SK Nayak asked the children whether they remembered brother Sunjeet and brother Roy, the children broke into a smile and all shook their head vigorously saying a big Oriyan ‘Haa’ (YES!)
I then spoke to the children conveying the love and well wishes of all kids.R.ok donors. I wanted the children to know that they are loved and we are there to help them fulfil their dreams for their future.
During our following interactions with the children, I noticed that these kids were so well behaved, listening to our words, seeing our actions and waiting for their turn to speak back. The credit should go to the caretaker for upbringing these kids with good morals and with right etiquettes.
The children always responded with a smile even if we could not directly communicate with them. We always needed Brother SK Nayak to translate our English queries into Oriyan, the older children tried to use english words to say thank you and hi while the tiny ones were just too shy or busy running around. The girls were braver asking us to teach them some songs and dance. We looked at each other and after much hesitation we agreed to teach them a simple English children’s song. Atleast we didn’t have to dance, so we thought. Roy, whose talent in singing needs no introduction, taught them a three stanza song (which he improvised into a four stanza song), and the children picked it up quickly in their first attempt (see our youtube video). It just showed their eagerness to learn something new, learn it quick and do it well.
We had planned some games to make it fun and divided the children into 5 groups.This was to teach them about team work and think and develop their English communication skills to respond their answers in english. Again it was not a problem to conduct games with so many children as they were all well mannered. The children really immersed themselves into the games, obeying the rules and having fun nonetheless.
We were very well hosted by brother SK Nayak during our stay, eating tasty oriyan spicy foods and the best part, we got our wish to spend time with children. But the time to leave the children came soon, we packed our bags and got into the car, we saw the children coming out to wave goodbye to us and we waved back promising to come back next year.
We left behind Urladani village with a satisfaction but still a hole in our hearts knowing that we are just beginning to make a difference into the lives of these beautiful children.
/ Allan Ashok
kids.R.ok Founder & Director – Sweden