Hours north away from the smog of New Delhi the air was cooler and fresher as we made our way by taxi along the ridges of wooded hills sitting high above the valley floor. Sabathu is in the province of Himachal Pradesh and there on a peak of it's own sits the Shanti Niketan Children's Home. My anticipation and excitement of arriving at this familiar place was rewarded with a warm welcome from staff and children, many who I recognized from seven years ago. We joined the team of 31 workers on a Child of Mine work project who assimilated us into their work days giving us opportunity to encourage them in their weariness. The projects were huge - an addition to the chapel, upgrading the water system with a new pipe line and extra water tank, adding a roof shelter to the girls' dorm so they have a place to dry their clothes in the monsoon season, laying more paving bricks along pathways, fixing plumbing problems and sprucing up tired walls with fresh paint. When the work day was done there was time to play with the children and join them in a birthday celebration.
Looking down on Shanti Niketan
The administration building
The school house with the beautiful second story that was built by last years team
Addition to the chapel
The new water tank and water pipes being installed
The paving crew
Twice a day everyone stopped for chai tea and biscuits.
Just a few of the beautiful faces of the Shanti Niketan family
A highlight was an afternoon at the river, a rare treat for the children to swim. While there two village women were baptized.
The home had prepared a picnic for everyone which included making a huge pot of chai tea on a fire. The children were so blessed with the treat of boiled potatoes, boiled eggs, potato chips, and a choco pie which is like a Wagon Wheel.
These are the girls who will graduate in the next two years and will be guided and prepared for a world away from their home by Chelsea, a new worker from Vancouver.
Newly weds - Jaeme and Manju were raised at Shanti Niketan and now live in Delhi working in well educated careers and helping to mentor the new grads from the home.
The Shanti Niketan family will always hold a very special place in our hearts.