Soon after I arrived at the Family Village Farm from Chennai, many of the volunteers came together for some nice hot chai (spicy tea). There were six of us, with one young man, who was celebrating his 19th birthday and five women, age range probably from 22 to 75. There are a couple of other young volunteers who had gone away for the day. Their time as volunteers here ranged from five days to over six months. One of the volunteers, Rachel Beck, was the first baby adopted from this home founded by Pauline King, MD. She was adopted by a couple in the USA and comes back here every couple of years to volunteer as a way of showing her gratitude for this home and the woman that saved her life.
Today is Founders Day, the celebration of Pauline King with many alumni returning for a day of worship, tributes, stories, food, fun and games. Counting everyone there must have been over 500 served a delicious meal of chicken biryani and condiments. What an amazing place! What amazing people, old and young! Just to think about how many of them would not have survived emotionally, spiritually or even physically if this place had not been here blows my mind. Thanks be to God, to Pauline King, and to the many staff and sponsors now and over the years.
Well, the first day of my month's journey is ending. A couple of hours ago I needed some down time so withdrew to my room to do some reading and writing.
In my life of retirement, especially in the freezing New Hampshire weather, there are many days when I see only my husband and our cats, Minnie and Lovey. So what's this change going to be like? Time will tell. At this point I feel very positive. The last time I did volunteer work in India, I lived alone at the Bishop's Guest House in Chennai and often felt lonely and wished I had someone to do things with. Already, last night six of us went into the village and had a wonderful meal together in honor of the "birthday boy." I am enjoying getting to know the others, although when I include the staff and children, it can be overwhelming. I think I will go see what's going on out in the community.
More to come soon. Barbara Currie
Barbara Currie is a Short-Term Volunteer with the Family Village Farm and Pravaham Girls' School in India.