One for the kids
A couple days prior to the opening matches of the tournament, 9 athletes from 3 countries managed to make a trip a little ways out of town to the Jeroham orphanage. Tom Lord from Great Britain, Mike Morrisson and Eyal Zimet of USA, and Martin Reader, Chaim Schalk, Kara Zacrewski, Julie Rodrigue, Steve Marshall and myself of Canada. We brought fruits, candies, an assortment of sports balls, and open minds. None of us spoke any Indian, and none of the children spoke any English, but we all understood that kids of all ages just need to have a little fun sometimes.
Everyone understands the language of play. They took us out to a little open area near the orphanage and showed the excitement and wonder that only children can. We had to take it in shifts sometimes due to the intense heat, but we did our best to keep up. I can't imagine it would be easy growing up with the adversity they've had to face, but they didn't miss a beat in front of us. Each one showing off their energy in their own way. Letting us see how talented and interesting they all can and will be. With their new balls and cricket bat, if one of them makes it big, I will be really proud to say I helped make a small impact.
But the real difference maker in the kids lives is kids home founder, Pastor Suhin. He started by taking in one troubled young girl, forced into the drug world at an early age to help support herself and her mother. What started as one child has now extended to over 20 youths of various ages, and thanks to the Pastor can now live lives with shelter, food, schooling and the company of other children. If anyone deserves a pat on the back, it's him. If you'd like to learn more about the Jeroham Children Home, you can visit their website here:
I may or may not ever be back in India. But I know that at least one really solid experience came out of this trip. Helping out kids is one thing that is impossible to regret. No matter who you are, it is nearly impossible to put a smile on a child's face without a smile of your own to match it.