The following is excerpts from my journal from my most recent trip to see the girls of STEPS Home in India.
July 28 –
It is Saturday and we are taking the girls to the beach! We loaded up early, and I road with the girls on the bus. We were headed to Scripture Union Camp where they have a pool and beach access, which is an hour or two south of the city… I lost track of time because we were having so much fun on the bus. They were SOOOO excited to be on our way! I think Karunya bounced in her seat most of the way there.
(Little) Theresa couldn’t sit still and Sharada sang the whole way. Eventually, the excitement eventually gave way to sleepiness. Some of them didn’t win that battle.
My seat buddy, Bharathi fought sleep off. She sat next to me the whole ride, usually leaning against me, or with her arms wrapped around mine.
When we finally got close, we could see the ocean and the excitement level rose again. When we got to Scripture Union Camp, we took a group photo of the girls.
The girls then went to take a nap so Theresa and I wandered around the camp to check things out. After lunch, we got the girls ready to go swimming in the pool. This is the first time any of them have ever been swimming. And they giggled the whole time changing into their new swimsuits. But once we were finally there…
We swam in the shallows, but at any given point we all had at least three to five girls hanging off of each of us. And they squealed the whole time… the whole two hours we were there. It was so much fun splashing with them. At one point, Bharathi was about to climb onto my back for a ride, when she freaking out: “A BUG! A BUG!!!” Marissa was next to me, so I looked at her, probably with a slight panic written on my face and she said, “You have a lizard on your shoulder.” WHAT?? How did a lizard get on me in the middle of the pool??? A few swipes and I successfully removed it from my body, and Mike was kind enough to rescue it from the pool.
After the pool, we walked the girls down to the beach. The waves were big and strong, so we held their hands and let the waves hit our feet.
When they were done playing in the waves, we spent some time looking on the beach for seashells, which wasn’t hard – they were everywhere.
The girls then went home, and Isaac and Tara took the rest of us to see Mahaballiparun – The Rock. It is a Hindu sculpture carved from a single rock. It was buried until recently.
There were other rock carvings nearby, as well. And the balancing rock.
Then we headed to dinner where a traditional band that played. The sitar player was amazing – her hands moved so fast!
It was a simply amazing day. I couldn’t have asked for more fun with the girls. And getting to experience their first time in the pool was just precious.