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Published: January 26th 2018
Today is Republic Day, so it is a day off, and we had some dancing and singing and amazing food with a few government officials present for the occasion.
But the big highlight of this week was yesterday... There is a new waterpark in Mahesana, the nearest "city", and Child Haven children and staff were invited for the opening. The kids were so amazingly excited, what a special treat for them, and on a school day on top of that!
I was also looking forward to the opportunity to take some photos of the event (sorry, no photo on the blog, I took them with my big camera and can't upload them at the moment...)! But I had no idea about how a day at the waterpark was like in India. What to bring, what to wear, what to expect. So, as usual, I just went with the flow...
Transport was also provided, so around 9ish, 3 minivans came to pick us up, and we also had the school minivan. There was about 60 kids and probably 20 staff, plus the drivers, so imagine 20 people or so in each minivan, it was really like a game of Tetris trying to
fit everybody in. Useless to say that there is no seatbelt, you are actually lucky if you get a seat, so forget the belt. As we were driving I smiled thinking about my own minivan in Canada... I never thought of putting 20 people in it. I bet it would fit better than in the vehicles we had! The music was so loud and the girls ever louder, but I was thinking about how surreal this was: I was going to a waterpark in India with 60 children...
We made it to the waterpark. I was quite impressed by the site. We spent the first few hours just walking around. The kids had no bags or anything with them, and they were wearing nice clothes for the special occasion. So there was no way they would get in the water dressed like that! Was this going to be a dry visit to a waterpark??
We had a delicious lunch, that was also provided, and the kids were super excited about the idea of swimming... But then they found out that they didn't have permission to swim. Oh, they were so disappointed. It was heart breaking to see them watching the
other kids that were enjoying the slides and pools. I think the superintendent realized that, so finally they got the OK to swim. I didn't need translation to understand what she said, it was very clear from the kids' reaction!
Then I found out that you can rent "bathing suits". Shorts for kids, and some kind of dress and pants for ladies and some kind of one piece suits with shorts for girls. Everybody had an amazing time, and once everything was over we drove back home. It is pretty amazing: there was no lost child, no whining, no urgent need to go to the toilet, no cranky hungry or thirsty kid, it's like they do that everyday. When you think about it, they only go outside their village 2 or 3 times a year, except for the kids who have family to visit during the holidays.
I thought about the new kids who just arrived to Child Haven: one of the girls was still living on the street, begging to survive, 2 weeks ago. I tried to imagine how she feels about her new life... Her smile was eloquent.
One thing for sure, all the kids slept well last
night and for once they will be the ones with something to brag about in school.
And I'll remember the stars in their eyes, and the words of one of the girls as we were about to leave the waterpark:
Sister, FULL ENJOY!!!
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