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Last full day in Bodhgaya—Field Blog #6

12 February 2014

Wonderful warm breakfast in our local café. Find an ATM machine for some currency and walk the usual 2 or so kilometers to Jeanamitabh orphanage for the 10 am morning prayers. I take my two Godsons, Raju – 15 and Sufit – 10, who been excused from class, shopping for pants, shirts and suitcases.  Raju knows the best clothing stall to get a good deal. He will do the negotiations and I am offered a seat so that I can give my opinions on the suitability of what each boy chooses. When it comes time for the bill, each boy checks it over and tries to get the best possible price. Since Tarik had other business to deal with he had told me in advance how much I should be paying, so I negotiated and got the price down to what Tarik would have deemed acceptable.

With parcels in hand and satisfied smiles on our faces we met Tarik at a designated location to go for some lunch. Chicken Fried Rice, Vegetable pasta dish, Chicken-Egg-Drop Soup- everyone was happy with their choices. And nothing was too spicy- the day was going well. After lunch Tarik had appointments to keep and Raju wanted to spend time preparing a departing gift for me. After these activities were complete my two Godsons and I walked back to their home. Darting through traffic of rickshaws, motorbikes, bicycles, pedestrians, cows and other obstacles seemed to be of no consequence to the two boys, and I must admit after a week here I am almost getting used to it as well.

By the time we got back home – school was over – and the boys would have to catch up on what they missed.  They tried on their new ‘duds’ and were admired for their good tastes.  We then hung out on the roof deck chatting to the other boys, mostly discussing their futures.  Some of the aspirations were to be a teacher, accountant, tour guide, and even a doctor. Wow! I was impressed with their hopes and dreams. It is Mummy Jee’s vision, drive and dedication that makes these dreams possible, not to mention the hard work and energy that Tarik devotes to this project, and the whole team at Paper Kite Children’s Foundation.

I feel so privileged to have been able to come on this volunteer adventure.  So much love has been shown to me here. Words can not even come close to expressing what I have seen and experienced.  A farewell party was thrown for Tarik and I, with at least 12 or more boys and girls getting up in front of the microphone to sing a solo – I saw amazing courage here. Even one of the physically challenged boys made an amazing contribution, which resulted in thunderous applause and cheering.

We were bestowed with ceremony and gifts beyond expectation, including a paper dove of peace and my very own spiritual name: “BRAHMDEV” given to me by my older Godson, Raju.

And then came the good bye’s.

(Jeff) BRAHMDEV

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