Ten-Days Makes a Difference
The Volunteers, Carolyn Smeltzer, Jennifer Hurst, Lisa Kaucic, Pam Clark, Toni Viola along with Felicia Rowe, Assistant Director of SCN Lay Mission Volunteer Program spent 10 memorable days with the students, staff and the SCNs of Asha Kiran, (House of Hope) at Dharuhera, Haryana, India.
Their experience began with a day of orientation, including the chance to meet the SCNs, learn the layout of the place, customs, and routines.
The Volunteers attended the alumnae gathering of the Nazareth Hospital Mokama Nurses organized by Nirmala Mulackal, SCN at Asha Kiran. Carolyn, a nurse, talked to the nurses about how to retire gracefully. She discussed the transformation of Mokama Nazareth Hospital into a palliative care centre and praised them for being progressive and meeting a new need in mission. The volunteers and the members of alumnae were spell bound to see the talents displayed by the Asha Kiran children on the stage.
The children at Asha Kiran and the volunteers loved being together. The volunteers helped the children with their homework, especially Math, Science and English. Some of them counseled the children who needed special help. They prepared the children for a Christmas play, which they will perform during the upcoming visit of the Archbishop of Delhi in December. They also taught the children a few songs and yoga. They gave a face lift to the small library by arranging the books and cataloguing them.
Each day, the volunteers shared their life stories with the children. Living and being with the children, the volunteers came to know the individual needs of each child and accordingly they reached out to them. They were companions besides being aunties, and didis (sisters) who played with the children, danced with them, laughed and cried with them. The children enjoyed learning how to make bracelets.
The volunteers had an opportunity to attend a naming ceremony of a new born boy in a village, they attended an Indian wedding at a nearby marriage hall and visited six villages.
The volunteers had the time to visit the Taj Mahal, the Lotus Temple, the Bahai Temple, India Gate and other beautiful spots.
Some of the volunteers visited Dhrampura slum where Manisha Azhakthu, SCN ministers with the young children, youth and women.
Each day the volunteers loved watching the children go to school. They worked with them in the kitchen and flower gardens. They spend time in preparing chapattis (bread) with the children and helped the staff in the kitchen.
The volunteers feel that they received much more than they gave. They had an authentic cultural experience because the SCN sisters saw to it that everything was planned and carried out meticulously. Asha Kiran, Dharuhera is a symbol of melting pot of all cultures and religions.
The children and the volunteers bid tearful farewell to one another before they left for the school on November 14, a day India celebrates Children’s Day. SCNs Agnes Tudu, Lucy Puthukattu and Sujata Maliakal said they were blessed by the presence of the six volunteers. “Their spirit of total dedication and commitment, simplicity, openness and the ever willing desire to embrace all were commendable.
We believe that this ten day experience has made us to embrace all religions, all peoples and all regions as one nation and as one people of God.”
SCNs Agnes Tudu, Lucy Puthukattu and Sujata Maliakal