Monday, February 25, 2013

Day 1 at Rising Star

This time change is throwing me for a loop. I went to sleep at 11pm and was wide awake at 2am. I stared at the wall and then finally decided to read. I was able to doze back to sleep at 6am but at 7 Faith decided she was done sleeping so we got up. We showered and packed and had a fun time skyping the family. 

Then we enjoyed another authentic Indian breakfast at the Marriott compliments of our host, Piklu, and headed out at 10am for Rising Star. 

We were met by 3 long term volunteers from the states and it felt nice to converse in fluid English again. The drive was another 2 heart wrenching hours of scenery. 

Stopping for gas was more or less like getting gas in the states, minus the dirt roads.

And stopping at the supermarket for goodies was pretty fun, all except for the part when I got in trouble for taking pictures. Why are people here so scared of my camera?!

And finally, the moment we had been waiting for had arrived. The gates to Rising Star Outreach were opened and we were welcomed in. 

We were shown to our room and given a tour but really only had one thing on our minds - meeting the children!

Our suite
Our toilet and shower. Oh yes it's true.
Our dressing room with required attire

The children were in class at the moment so we were able to take a peek inside one of their hostels. It's amazing that 20 or so kids live in here, along with everything they own. They roll out little sleeping mats at night, and during the day things are kept tidy and neat. Think of all the housework we could save ourselves by paring down like this.

They have a little store where they can shop with the stars they've earned. I love the rules posted. 

Let me introduce you to some of God's most precious children:

Almost the entire kindergarten class had red mustaches drawn on them! We never could get the straight story about who the artist was, the kids just giggled and pointed to their upper lips.

The kids loved a few things I water bottle, my camera and my sunglasses. They loved to grab the camera and take pictures all by themselves and then admire their work! (samples below)

It was absolutely amazing to watch their imaginations at work with so very little in the way of "things" to keep them entertained.

The kids love playing "kitchen", grinding flour and serving delicious meals.

Monkey bars become basketball goals 

A dried palm leaf becomes a boat

Stacked rocks become the target in a game

Jumping off a wall with the new volunteer watching becomes an Olympic sport

(I love how he is plugging his nose like he's diving into a pool!)

"Auntie" Tara's back becomes a trampoline and a donkey

They work hard

They play hard

They love

And they are loved.

The most beautiful thing I saw today:

While we were settling in our room, Faith heard the laughter of the kids for the first time and ran to the window to watch them play. Since they were still on school time we weren't allowed to be with them, but just seeing the kids filled her with a joy you could almost touch.


  1. Amazing pictures. Can't believe the poverty and the smiling faces. What a wonder experience for u and faith. Thanks for posting

  2. Seeing the children react so joyfully at having you there must now make the journey seem real. What exactly will you be doing if you aren't allowed to see the children while they are in school? Nanny

  3. What an experience!!! You coffee table book "A Mother an Daughter in India" with all of those amazing pictures and commentary is going to be amazing. It must be nice to be able to write a book as it is happening. I'm looking forward to buying a copy.

  4. Don't you love my husband's subtle hints!! You really are living a dream that most people will never duplicate. We were so glad, see those gates that said "Rising Star Outreach" and knew you were truly SAFE! We know you'll do good works while you're there. Faith looks very comfortable in her surroundings. I wonder what will become of these experiences in shaping her future??? Thanks for taking the time to share.

  5. I love Pops comment! I will buy lots of copies of your book! It is a page turner and I can't put it down. So fun to see those beautiful, precious little angels. I want to reach through and hug them with all my might. And you ladies look so fancy in your Indian smocks and right at home. Is your sleep adjusting at all? How are the smells? And the sounds? Is it cold or hot or just right? The sky and light is is lovely in the pictures. Your ride there looked so heart wrenching and more like I pictured it. So many stories and life along the way... I wonder what they are. Are there lots of other volunteers? I think I saw some in your pictures. Where do they come from? So many questions.. sorry. I so wish I was there with you! XO

  6. What an amazing experience you and Faith are having! I'm enjoying following all your posts. You're quite an amazing woman. Be safe.