I have now officially created a new holiday called
Construction Appreciation Day.
Rising Star Outreach is helping to build a community center for
one of the colonies and it requires serious manual labor.
About 7 truck loads of dirt were hauled in and dumped in piles. We
shoveled the dirt into big metal shallow bowl things and
carried it to the foundation site. We were leveling out the ground.
The previous groups kept saying, "Bring water! You'll drink like crazy." I brought way more than I thought I'd drink. Turns out I drank over two liters in three hours. That is a lot for me! And daddy will be proud I wore a hat and pants to get out of the sun. Ironically, Amy and I both showed up wearing orange San Francisco Giants hats. Ha!
Here we are on top of the mounds of dirt left to be moved.
We so00 did not move it all ourselves. There are still
plenty of days ahead this summer.
The bowls, and the foundation site behind me.
This doesn't even come close to giving justice to the dirt that we were covered in. It was messy and hot but felt so good to work hard. We all left exhausted after 2.5 hrs. I knew I had hit my limit when I bent down to pick up another bowl of dirt and nothing happened. Muscles were apparently done working.
Back on campus in the evenings
We write in these books so the kids have memories
their mom's are unable to keep for them.
Story time still gets a little chaotic. For the most part the kids
just crowd around and look at the photos, then take
the book and look through them again and again.
They are fascinated by my acrylic nails, so to distract them from
their constant attempts to rip them off, I paint their nails.
(Photos you get when you let kids run with your camera)
Thought tonight I'd explain a little about these kids. Mama says some people have been asking about how long these kids stay here, if being away from the colony
'immunizes' them from leprosy, and where they go from here, etc.
1) This school has grades from UKG (kindergarten) to about 9th standard (grade) because the school has been open for about that many years. So, for each of the next 3 years, until they have established classes all of the way up to 12th standard, they will add a class. These kids can stay here as long as they have funding from their family or sponsorships. Some kids are pulled out to get married or work before they are 'finished', but RSO won't kick them out.
2) Only 5% of the world's population is believed to have the gene marker that makes one susceptible to contracting leprosy. If one has this gene marker, they must spend an extended amount of time (years) around leprosy to contract it. The kids, therefore, have a high risk because many of their parents are leprous. Spending time away from home at the school does, in a way, help in keeping the kids from contracting it. When, and if, they go back they are not immune just because they spent so much time away. They are always susceptible. However, the people we help in the colonies no longer have active leprosy. They have been given medication to kill the bacteria and now only deal with the after affects (deformities and ulcers). They have ulcers because leprosy kills the nerve endings in the hands and feet, so they will walk for weeks with a nail in their foot or a cut that just gets more and more infected without realizing it because they feel no pain.
3) After school, the kids can go in many directions: work, further education, or back to their communities...just like any other school graduate. Their education, however, predisposes them to continue with higher education or finding a better job than they otherwise could have.
~~~~I'll be in Delhi for the next three days,
so I'll be back in touch when I can~~~~