Happy Independence Day!!!!! Yes, today is the day we celebrate the 70th anniversary of India’s break from British rule, and no, we weren’t stoned in the streets. Instead we were received with the same incredible welcome that we have been greeted with every day of our visit. The realisation is gradually building that more than colours, smells and noise, India is about love, joy and hospitality.
We started the day with the hoisting of the flag (an incredibly attractive flag if you’re into vexillology) which, as per, ran on IST (India Stretch Time). But never the less made me well up inside like the soppy so and so I am.
The main segment of the day consisted of visiting GNCEM’s Gobindopur girls hostel and Chandpur boys hostel; yet another great example of the great work GNCEM have done… Did I say it was great?
We sang, they danced, we acted, they ran round like there’s no tomorrow, and we celebrated together. There was even the very competitive event of the India vs England Olympics (we lost).
One thing that struck me like a hot iron was that these kids (who started out at the mobile street schools) have so much passion and dedication in anything they turn their hand to. These kids have come from having virtually nothing, and through the ceaseless hard work put in by Subir and Eunok Roy and everyone who works with them, they have come through the GNCEM system and now have a safe bed every night and three meals a day: Fantastico! GNCEM rely on sponsors to provide this for each child – a practical way we can help, perhaps?
Also, it is important to remember; not every child living on the streets of Kolkata is as fortunate.
The team is doing better than ever and, dispite some inevitable gastrointestinal hicups we are there for each other.
I am so glad to see the work of good people like the staff at the hostels, I feel like a glass being filled with the water of inspiration… Good things shall surely come from this trip.
As the sun goes down on the city and the flags continue to flutter in the light winds, I remain in contemplation of the stupendous events my eyes have seen today; the epitome of selflessness… We can all learn from this… There’s still time.
Oh… and one more thing… just to be on the safe side, let’s not colonise anywhere ever again.