This is Namita who studied with me all the time I was in India. She eventually went out on her own and is now working in a call center in Gurgaon. We got together when I was back in July. She has grown to be a delightful young woman.
Sister Suja (right) was the Sister I spent the most time with at Holy Family. I last saw her in 2015 when I traveled to see her in Punjab, where she was transferred for two years. She is now back in Najafgargh. Her laugh is better than ever.
This young woman, surrounded by her husband and in-laws, is Yogita. She studied with me and went on field trips around Dehil while I was living there. Yogita later dropped out of school. She is now married and working in a shop. Suja Sister and I visited to meet her husband and in-laws.
I brought a weaving project so the girls could make something new. It was a school holiday when I visited, so many girls are away, but those who stay at Holy Family all summer are especially interested in new activities.
How about adopting this birthday tradition?
Birthdays are a big deal in many parts of India. Some widely respected traditions include wearing new clothes, blessing parents, feeding others birthday cake – often including some messy frosting face smearing – and, in some offices, taking the day off work.
Scott and Diana April 2014
But another practice I especially like is to give to charity. Many people donate to a charity on this special day, especially by giving clothing or food to an orphanage or perhaps hosting a meal at a shelter home. It is both a blessing for the person celebrating the birthday as well as a message of sharing and support for others.
My friend and colleague from AWA – and our only full-time staff person – Diana Anthony, lives in Najafgarh. For the second year in a row she will be visiting Holy Family Asha Niwas for her daughter Kristynn’s birthday. Next week they will celebrate by bringing a lunch to share as well as matching tee shirts for all the girls at Holy Family. Guests are invited and they will bring Kristynn, have lunch, and spend some time with the sisters and the girls.
Blessings to Kristynn and kudos to Diana and her husband for these generous acts of charity.
Mark your calendars and start a family tradition: what can YOU do on your birthday?
An outing: six of the girls from Holy Family, a visiting colleague from the US, and yours truly went to the Nehru Museum and Planetarium last Saturday. I take as many girls as my car can hold (six if they’re older, eight if they’re little) on different outings when they are not in school.
On other days we’ve been to factories, parks, the Purana Quila, restaurants, offices, historical sights, a hotel and a very cool indoor climbing wall.
But this time we chose the Nehru Museum, had a picnic, and visited the Planetarium for a sky show. It was a lovely group and a lovely day. The museum is huge and rather stately – filled mostly with photos, letters, newspaper articles, and household memorabilia from Jawaharlal Nehru. The girls moved slowly, taking in every display and artifact. The skyshow – in Hindi – capped it off.
My colleague Kim accompanied us – the girls love having new faces.