Last month, Anna Boudreaux visited Balgram Poynad orphanage in Maharashtra and fell in love with the children there. Here are some of her reflections from the trip:
Last month, my fellow Ambassadors and I pulled up to the gates of Balgram Poynad orphanage in India full of anticipation. And there stood 41 smiling faces. Two little girls jumped forward, grabbed our hands, and pulled us into a warm welcome. We were guided through a crowd of grinning children, all exclaiming, “Namaste! Hi! Namaste! Hi! Hello! Namaste!”
After adorning the girls in our group with bindis and serving us all delicious chai tea, the introductions began. I sat on the floor and met Pahveka and Farzana. We said hello, learned each other’s names and ages, and laughed in the moments that we couldn’t understand each other. I already knew how easily our communication would live without language. Their giant eyes spoke with such genuine acceptance and love. And I fell pretty immediately!
Then, some of the girls performed three dances for us. They moved so proudly and gracefully. It was powerful. They pulled us into their hearts right then and created a room filled with peace through their dancing.
We spent the next couple of days soaking up as much time as possible with the children. One of our biggest projects was to paint the walls of the home. The children were in charge, and told us their artistic vision for the walls. My fellow Ambassador Tami is an unbelievable artist and helped bring their vision to life. We often take for granted the beautiful space we live in, and I was humbled to help the kids decorate their home.
Lunch with the kids was quite an event! The first day, Pahveka and Vishakha called me over to sit with them, “Anna Di!” As my plate was filled, they would teach me the words for the foods in Marathi. Pahveka picked up a cucumber and slowly pronounced for me “kakadi.” The words I repeated incorrectly made the girls giggle, which I loved. Every meal we ate at the home was absolutely delicious. The cooks work hard, and the food is fresh. Really fresh.
We also got to take the children on an excursion to a nearby beach! After an epic bus ride full of singing and dancing, we arrived. Most of the boys set up a game of cricket, and many of the girls made sand sculptures and other amazing works of art. A significant part of day was spent taking pictures of the kids posing and making funny faces with trees, with sunglasses, and with the ocean! I don’t know if I can say that I’ve ever felt the kind of genuine happiness that these kids bring out of me. What a gift!
On our last day at the home, the girls at the home dressed us up in saris. They did our hair and makeup, picked out our jewelry, painted our nails, and made us look and feel like princesses. There were at least three girls around each of us at all times, like we had our own personal entourage of adorable fashion designers. There’s really nothing like a room full of giggling girls!
When we left Balgram Poynad, I couldn’t help but cry. It’s hard to put into words what these beautiful children have done to my heart. Their home is full of love, good food, amazing housemothers, and joyful children who shine bright. We left the children in the most tender of hands, in a place where they really do have everything they need, with mothers and brothers and sisters and love. Love lives in the eyes of these children.
Interested in traveling to India to meet the kids? Email Heather at Heather@MiracleFoundation.org today!