So, what do you do when you have a whole day planned just to write? First, have your husband say it would be nice if you spent time with your mother-in-law who will be alone this weekend. Call up mother-in-law and plan to get together for lunch. After lunch, stop at four stores and coupon. Get home, watch some TV and knit. Finally get around to writing around 5pm and have husband call just as you are about to start. Have some dinner, feed the dog and sit down again after 6pm.
The draft is pretty rough, I have about 15 chapters or stories down so far. Not all of them will make it into the final draft and they will undergo some major construction in the coming edits. But for now, it all just needs to be written out and done. There's a few more chapters yet to get down but I think I may be done for the night.
I'd like to share a chapter, keep in mind it's very rough and grammar and spelling are distant thoughts when I write the first draft. I've taken out the names of real people for their protection. I hope you enjoy this little sample of things to come.
One craft that I taught on my third trip was paper bead making. This was fairly easy to get the hang of and they could easily make them with common materials after we left. Unlike other crafts that would require buying items, this could be made out of magazine pages, newspapers, junk mail even scraps of fabric. I taught this at the retreat mentioned in a previous chapter. It was during this time that one of the leaders, A***, had an idea.
She said she didn’t know why she didn’t think of this before, but could we teach this craft to the girls in the orphanage the next afternoon? We did have a few hours freed up because of a cancelled meeting. I was hoping could be rest. But I had prayed that we wouldn’t miss an opportunity to serve so we agreed to go. Though this seemed like a last minute change, I know God had it on our agenda all along.
The young man who drove us told us on the way over that he grew up in that orphanage. He said that then it was in better repair. Now, he thought the money was not being directed for food or even wages. The current couple who ran the orphanage had not received much money for food or supplies for many years. Monies were given to the upper management to run it but they were not trickling down to help the children.
We drove in the gates and down the drive and a crowd of children began to form. The crowd continued to grow as we got out, met the directors and found a place under some shade trees to craft. A few tables were brought out and we were soon surrounded by children. They were of many ages, from five to upper teens. Some were openly welcoming and others were shy or held back. But they were all curious.
When the leaders explained that this was just a craft for the older girls, there was a little mutiny in the ranks but they listened for the most part. A few young boys kept sneaking back to the table and watched. One was a little boy in a red sweater with a heartbreakingly shy smile.
I introduced myself as simply as possible. Then realized that I had a bit more in commons with them than I realized.
“I was in an orphanage and adopted as a baby.”
They looked at me in surprise. Adoption was very uncommon there. Many of the children still had one or two parents living, they just could not take care of their children. Adoptions themselves are also rare in a caste society where people are born to the life they deserve. Though this is slowly changing, there are still many, many orphanages filled with children who hardly dare hope to have any other family.
We starting making paper beads, I only needed to show the girls once. They caught on much more quickly than the adult women. Soon they were hard at work, making enough beads to make necklaces. The boy in the red sweater came and proudly showed me his paper bead he made. Just by watching us and “borrowing” some supplies off the table when no one was looking, he made a perfect bead.
Later on he came up to show me another one - this time it was a different shape, he had begun to create his own designs. He made a few more throughout the day and each was more creative than the last. This boy had talent.
I wondered at the lives lived here. I had heard that this was not a good place because of the lack of funding. The beds were worn, if they had beds. There were bad situations between the girls and boys. They were hungry in many ways. I asked A** how often people come to spend time with them.
“No one comes,” she said. “We come once a month to bring them to the youth meetings but you’re the first to come.”
I nodded dumbly and tried to take in her words. No one came to spend time with these children? With these talented, hungry children? It was true. No outsiders other than the people from the church came to see these orphans. This wasn’t an isolated case, there were countless orphanages across India that had very little visitors.I looked across the table and saw our driver, smiling and working with the young boys who couldn’t help but stay away. I saw the boy in the red sweater, with his friends who were watching him intently as he formed his next bead. I looked around at the smiling girls, giggling with each other while creating something beautiful out of what most considered worthy only to be thrown away.