The moment of saying goodbye is coming closer and closer. I’m dreading it. I’m dreading it so much. I’m starting to play moments over and over again in my head, I’m trying to take in everything as much as possible. I take slow bites of Rosie’s dosa’s, knowing that at home, there are no delicious dosa’s for dinner. I laugh as Naveen, who’s running past me, tells me he’s in a hurry to find his pencil, his exam already started. I walk past the dry clothing line, and smile because I see Antony’s weed shorts, Ashoks red striped blouse and Moorthy’s yellow sports shirt which has the name of a German insurance brand on the back. I realize that now I recognize every clothing piece, but that is something I’m going to forget once back home. I realize that, no matter how hard I try, I’m going to forget things. Now, I recognize all their voices, but that is something that’s going to fade away. I can’t remember forever. I’ll probably forget some of their names. A 100 Indian names… It stings, knowing that moments will fade and I won’t be able to relive them. Luckily, I’ve always got my blog to read back on.
The past weeks were not spectacular, however they still felt good. Probably just because every moment with the boys feels like a precious one. My dearest Sunil Joshua came back after being in the hospital for 2 weeks, seeing him again felt good. My dearest Moorthy gave me a makeover with his white powder, we laughed and took funny photos, we then quickly washed it off before anyone could see it. My dearest Venkatesh came back after running away over 2 months ago, having him back safe and sound was amazing. My dearest Clement showed me the roof and pulled me up, where we chilled for an hour, while we enjoyed the view. Furthermore, the Christmas school celebration, the boys home changing in a courtroom and the new Don Bosco cat are things worth mentioning.
Christmas is almost here, so last Saturday was the Christmas school celebration. The kids who prepared a performance were lucky, they did not have to come in their school uniforms. The girls from 10th grade wore all their colorful sari’s while they were singing, the boys from 8th grade were wearing jeans and Christmas hats while doing their cool dance. The 7th graders acted out the Christmas story while they were all dressed as angels, sheep’s or kings and Lourde Clement and Jawaher were dressed up as Christmas Tata (literally Tamil translation: Christmas grandpa) while they shook everyone’s hand and acted all crazy. It was a fun morning, something the boys were longing for in the mid of their exam week. However, as soon as the celebration ended they had to get back to their English paper 2.
Exams are not the only thing that stresses the boys out. The Don Bosco Boys home basically changing in a court room does not do a lot of good either. Some of the boys mentioned their pocket money was stolen, boys were blamed and it ended in quite a drama. S got blamed for stealing money, he plead guilty, he mentioned others boys were guilty too, tho. Furthermore, he mentioned from which boys he stole. Interesting enough, some of those boys then told they still had all their money, nothing was stolen from them. Some of them were protecting their friends and the web of lies became bigger and bigger. A and W then plead guilty too, however someone else stole their stolen money back. The entire dormitory had been cleaned out, it was in no one’s locker. The complete stolen amount of rupees seemed to be vanished from the earth. The conclusion is that the money must be hidden under some random stone, a lot of boys were crying, some were dismissed, parents were called in and some boys were ignored by others for days. It was all quite a drama. Imagine this was all just about a few rupees, less than an euro. In the end, all boys were forgiven, no one was dismissed and they hopefully learned from their mistakes. My views on them haven’t changed a bit, I’m still crazy about all of them. Things like this happen when a 100 boys from a poor background live together.
On a more fun note, all the boys and us, the Dutch sisters made a new friend! Some of the boys found a kitten in front of our project last week. Most of the older boys know I’m crazy about my cat back home so they called me right away and told me they had a gift. The baby kitten looked horrible, sick and underfed. We brought him to a quiet place behind our rooms, thinking there was nothing we could do, he would probably die within a few hours. Karlijn had still some hope and decided to steal some chicken from the kitchen. Since then, we’ve been feeding him warm milk and butter, he’s getting more energy everyday and by now, he seems not to leave our side anymore. He’s mostly in front of our rooms, sleeping or screaming for food. If not, he’s exploring the project, distracting the boys while they are trying to study or sleep. Seeing the boys responses on Bosco (Yep, we gave him a name) is quite interesting, especially because pets are not the most usual thing here. Some of the boys cuddle him like I do, while others keep yelling he needs to go back to the streets, or see him as a toy. Naveen Raj thought it would be a great Christmas gift for his family, he shared his Briyani rice and locked him up in his school bag for an entire night. We explained him cats don’t like spicy rice and Bosco deserved to have a little more space than the small, dark place in his school bag. He agreed and gave up on his Christmas gift. Since then, we’ve been taking care of him again.
In between all of those moments, we spent our full week crafting. That’s right, we got all creative last week and spent hours painting for Jesus’s crib. The boys tried helping us, it ended in a paint/water fight with Naveen, Sunder and Moorthy. By then, our paintings were ruined by ugly water stains and misshaped Christmas trees. Well, at least we had fun making them… By the end of the week, my pants were covered with blue paint strokes and I, myself was from head to toe covered in silver glitter.
However, the main reason I’m writing this blog is to update you guys on the sponsor project! The carpentry boys worked incredibly hard the past few days, this means: the tables and benches are finally finished! The boys were insanely excited when they saw the tables and benches for the first time. So were we. The priests blessed every single piece of plywood and every nail in each table leg. You can imagine, this took a while. The blessing ended with holy water spread over the tables… then the fun could finally start! All the boys got seated, delicious breakfast was served while loud, Tamil music was played. We joined the boys for breakfast, which was the first time in 4 months. ‘Sister, sit next to me. Sister, I’ve got a place here. Sister, join us!’ It was so different from last week, and all the months and years before that. When they’d sit on the floor, in silence, no music and no one of the staff ever joining. Father Felix was beyond excited and told us he loved the idea of joining the boys more often during ‘suppadher’ (I’m working on my Tamil vocab hehe). He wants to show the boys they’re equals, the staff shouldn’t sit in a special room, with a more luxurious dining table and special food from the special cook. I couldn’t agree more with him. All I can hope is that the staff will keep joining the boys during their meals. Father Felix promised us he’d keep us updated on how the boys attitudes will change because of them now feeling ‘worthy’ to eat while sitting. Seeing Felix being so passionate about the boys is amazing and I know he will keep doing great things for the boys.
I watch the 11 year old Arish lick his fingers, the food must be good. The 11 year old Ashwin smiles from ear to ear while pointing at his new spot and the 13 year old Vitness proudly says he is one of the younger boys who’s tall enough to sit on the older boys’ benches. The 12 year old Dinesh Kumar thanks me for this special gift about 20 times. Meanwhile all I can do is smile, I realize how much happiness this brings to me. I feel so blessed. We are so, so proud and so, so thankful for all of you guys, this couldn’t have happened without all our sponsors. Thank you all a 1000 times.