We arrived at Bangalore early in the morning at 3am. Everyone was feeling tired and slightly jet lag. Bangalore is 2.5 hours behind Singapore and the flight was not very comfortable. Nonetheless, no one complained about the bumpy coach ride to the guest house. Our room was divided into 2 sections, males and females, with the main door opening to the guys section. There were rows of double decker beds and it reminded me of a backpacking hostel. Everyone quickly unpacked their luggage before sleeping.
In the morning, the very first event that we had was amazing race. It was specially arranged by Dhiraj and the local volunteers from LHCH. Before setting off, we were divided into groups of 3 and each accompanied with a volunteer. Basically for amazing race, we had to travel from each checkpoint and take a photo. Each checkpoint is an important location in Bangalore. One of the checkpoints is M G Street which stands for Mahatma Gandhi Street. The aim of the amazing race is for the members to be familiarized with some attractions of Bangalore and also to observe the locals way of life.
After lunch we had an introduction session with Pastor John and Brother John. Brother John is the third son of Pastor John and he is the person who conceived the Inspiring India project back in 2009. Pastor John mentioned about the history of LHCH and also how 5 boys from the pioneer batch of children since 2002 is studying in Pre University now. A very good testimonial to the good work of LHCH is the returning of older children who are giving back to the home now after they have been studying there for a long time and achieving success in their studies.
The highlight of the day must be the visit of the LHCH. We were welcomed by the children with so much passion and excitement that it totally blew us off. Many of the members were in awe when the children formed 2 lines, like a guard of honour, to welcome us. They did a few dances (which we tried to follow) as well as performed the traditional Indian welcoming ceremony – placing of the hara (flower ring) over our necks. Next Dhiraj took us on a tour of the home and explained to us some of the improvements of the room condition. I was really amazed that within 6 months, there were already many noticeable additions in the rooms – shelves to store their personal belongings and new lockers for the girls. As Dhiraj mentioned when he showed us the lockers, “I feel that it is time to move from the old to the present.”
The enthusiasm of the children really spurred many of the members to want to do more for the children for the rest of the project. It was really heartening to hear that. Probably one more task that Jacqueline and I have to do is to ensure that no one falls sick or burn out during the project. Nonetheless, it was a great start to the project.