#5 – Seniors & Orphans (Gaye)

The last few days we have been spending time with Senior's from a seniors' centre and girls who are being cared for by nuns in a home.

The church has a drop in program for seniors which features a simple meal, simple yoga and a program. Yesterday our group sponsored a feast for the seniors (mostly women). Some of the women have a pension from their work but most of them worked in the fields, or made rope or bricks. They receive support to the tune of 500 rupees a month - which is about $5 in our money. They may have supportive families and they do get one kilo of a rice a week from a government assistance program. The church (Catholic) plays a significant role in their lives and they seem to treasure each other's company.

As part of the program, many of the women- who ranged in age from 60-95 - shared a song or two. They were each delighted to sing for us and we could hardly get to the meal because one after another volunteer a folk song or hymn. They also wanted to share hugs and kisses so deeply moved that we would want to spend time with them. Most could say one English word - which was hello but we communicated regardless. I was astonished by their strength and resilience

Today we visited a girls home which houses girls who have lost one or two parents or whose parent's cannot afford to support their daughters to attend school. These wonderful nuns mother them and teach them and love them. The girls range from 4-16 years of age and seem bright and cared for. We brought books, stickers, and other school supplies for them.. They also had some songs to sing and dances to do. One child just shone doing a Bollywood routine. I was shocked and pleased that the nuns did not seem to mind the gyrating hips and the music. We performed some music to - I taught them "I am amazing" and they loved it. I could have taken each one of them home but I can see how loved and happy each girl was. Their smiles and the smiles of those feisty seniors will stay with me.

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