Did you miss Part 1? Read it here.
The drive to Kakdwip takes almost 3 hours from Kolkata on a two lane highway of sorts. As we got closer to the village we had to turn onto this narrow path that looked as if it was made for people and bikes only. On our last trip we parked the car at this point and rode tractors in the rest of the way. But not this time! Apparently as long as there is a “road” any vehicle is welcome to travel on it. So off we went in our car. Soon we were greeted by the children holding signs and beating drums to welcome us. It was beautiful and humbling to receive such a welcome.
The location is dreamy and felt like we were right in the middle of the jungle. Which technically we were! Inside the gates where the children’s home was built, several girls were holding flower garlands which they hung around each of our necks. We were given freshly opened coconuts to drink. Again…so humbling.
There are over 100 children at the Illuminate India “Angel House”. Through generous donations we funded the construction of the two story building over the last two years. We partnered with another organization called Angel House who managed the construction of the home.
Through our amazing donors we also funded the installation of a well so the children could have clean drinking water.
A group of people from Kakdwip formed the Kakdwip Rural Development Association to take care of the children here. They are all such wonderful and caring people. Each child has a bed and three meals a day. The school that the children attend is next door to the home. Many of the kids smile at us and seem to remember some of us from our visit last year. I recognize many of them. They have grown over the last year and seem happy and well taken care of.
Some kids from Boise, Idaho and Medford, Oregon decorated and donated journals for each child. Children from Minnesota, Oregon, and Idaho made rubber band bracelets for each child at the children’s home in Kakdwip. Also donated for this visit were smencils (good smelling pencils!) for each child, licorice and socks.
Some of the girls were dressed in traditional clothes and had prepared some dances for us. It was so much fun to watch them perform. They were so beautiful and graceful.
It was lunchtime and a delicious meal was prepared. We had the privilege of serving the children before eating our lunch.
We spent some time (though not nearly enough) with the children. We also had some good conversation with the people who run the children’s home about what projects need to be funded for this year. As you can imagine, running a home for over 100 children takes a lot of resources.
With donation money that we took on our trip to meet specific needs, we were able to purchase three computers, sports equipment, and a few musical instruments. The school is now offering computer classes and music lessons! And the children are now participating in sports during their recreation time.
One of our team members printed up t-shirts with our logo on them and gave them to the kids here and in Falta. Also donated by him along with his family and friends back home (to be delivered soon) are 3 cows! The children’s home wants to start working toward sustainability and the cows will be their first opportunity to do that.
All too soon it was time to leave. We vowed to spend more time at the Kakdwip home on our next trip. And we will! (More details on our future first ever volunteer trip in an upcoming post.)
Stay tuned for Part 3 of our trip as well as how you can partner with us to help the children in Kakdwip!