Written By: Jessica Killen, Whole Food Market Team Member Volunteer
We were greeted like rock stars! We got to do the ‘hokey pokey’ and the children giggled as we put our bum in the middle and shook it all around.
Having very little or no language in common is interesting. So we learn to talk with facial expressions and gestures, realizing that that we don’t have to speak the same language to have a lot of fun together. The Tamil language is very difficult – ethu romba khastham (I think that’s how you say, ‘Tamil is very difficult’). In the three days we’ve been here, we have learned 5 Tamil phrases that we are all trying very hard to remember. The children promised us that we have a test tomorrow…. which we are all afraid of failing!
The kids are amazing, each in their own way. So many personalities and everyone so unique! We got a tour of the Anbarasi children’s home, learned about its history, and its plan for the future. We helped prepare meals for the kids as well. The food is so fresh and delicious that Anna had to guard it from the ducks and chickens while it was being prepared. Some of the team set up a sports area for badminton and cricket, while others worked on the dining area; cleaning it and getting it ready to paint tomorrow. We did so much painting. The little guys on my team of course did all the graffiti :). Mike’s group, named “Natural Beauty”, was definitely the messiest, but we got most of the girls area done with a base coat of color – murals are next!
The most touching moment of the day for me was the beauty treatment. Some of the beautiful girls asked me if I wanted a makeover. They took me to their room, brushed my hair, and braided it Indian style. They put a bindi on for me, a decorative dot commonly worn on the forehead by women, with some chalk as a base. Then they painted my fingernails. It was such a touching moment. These girls had so little, yet they wanted to use the last of their fingernail polish on me.
So much generosity….I don’t even know what to say. I don’t give enough of my time! I don’t give enough of my material possessions! I came here to give love. But I didn’t anticipate receiving so much. I actually had to take a few minutes to compose myself, I was so touched.
There is no greater calling than the service to others – never have I believed that so strongly.
P.S. Now we know why Jairaj is famous!