Welcome to India

This blog is intended to make a country that most Westerners find to be otherworldly not so much so. We enjoy sharing our experiences, noting our observations, highlighting our impressions and otherwise recounting our adventures in India while helping our blogwatchers to be vicariously closer to this grand country. Welcome to India.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Andhra Pradesh Children’s Homes Tour – Part II

We just returned from our second week of journeying around the state of “A.P.” (as the locals call it) visiting the newest batch of children who have been given an opportunity for a “second” family and an English education to learn their way out of poverty.

It was an inspiring week of spending time in villages (no hotels this time around), sharing common meals, teaching, playing, laughing and bumping down the Indian roads as we meandered from village to village, town to town and city to city.

Our next trip won’t be until March (after our return from the States for the holidays), but we’re already planning how to make that trip most effective (painting, anyone?) and memorable for the kids and for us.

Enjoy the latest pics!

1. One of our favorite pics so far in our whole time here, the Domakonda girls smile at their creative successes.

2. The Saravaram boys will have the cleanest teeth in the village after a local dentist in Ongole donated hundreds of toothbrushes for our children's homes.

3. The Punukula girls and bubbles are a delightful combination.

4. The beach ball was a big hit state wide.

5. A hula-hoop, some frisbees and lots of smiles.

6. Community puzzles - most of these children had never seen puzzles before.

7. And after a week of village-living, Indian road-bouncing, village rice-consuming and children-loving and -educating, it was time for an urban mocha in Hyderabad!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Andhra Pradesh Children’s Homes Tour – Part I

A few times each year we take the Sean & Paige show on the road to visit our children’s homes up close and in-person, many of them up to a 6 – 8 hour drive away from our home base in Ongole. These trips are filled with bumpy roads, tasty, village-cooked chicken curry meals, fun and educational activities with the children, beautiful Indian sunsets and short nights in a motel or the local church itself before the next day’s journey.

One home-per-day.

One inspiring set of parents and children-per-day.

One great tour of Andhra Pradesh – parts I & II (coming next week).

Enjoy the pics, which speak for themselves:

1. Indian sunsets are brilliant.

2. Each home's smiling faces bring a new and energizing joy.

3. We work closely with people like this to make this program work (2 father/pastors and a district leader).

4. A beach ball and a circle - does it get much better?

5. To you this probably looks like yesterday's meal that came back up, but to those of us here, ahhhhh, wonderful village curry, chapati bread, dahl and yellow rice! YUM!

6. The Indian equivalent of a road trip coffee stop - Starbucks doesn't have much to worry about...

7. Kuderu girls stole our hearts for obvious reasons.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Introducing "CCDC"

Covenant Child Development Centers

Until now our focus during our time serving here in India has been solely the Covenant Children’s Homes program, which is only one part of our two-part strategy to lay a solid foundation for village children to break the cycle of poverty through education.

The second part of our strategy to make a dent in the extreme poverty of Andhra Pradesh is the Covenant Child Development Centers program, which is an after-school tutoring and holistic support program for village children, most of whom are very vulnerable to child trafficking and child labor, a tragic consequence of an underdeveloped state.

In addition to our 20 open and running children’s homes caring for 200 children (and 20 more homes to open in May!), we also have 15 child development centers run out of the village churches that support 25 children each, giving 375 children a meal and tutoring assistance six days-per-week (so many parents of these children are illiterate and of no help when it comes to their child’s education). The “holistic” support encompasses physical nourishment through their most healthy meal of the day, spiritual nurturing through prayer and worship, a positive and welcoming after-school environment and ultimately, instilling confidence and dreams that they can succeed and grow up to be something, and that someone believes in who they are becoming.

Yeah, this kind of tutoring and support center makes a huge impact!

So now that you’ve gotten used to the “CCH” acronym, we’ll start throwing around “CCDC” – and even if you can’t always recall the exact meaning, you can have full confidence that hundreds (and eventually thousands) of children, orphans or not, are getting healthier meals, educational support and holistic nurturing and guidance, whether they are living at the church home or just stopping by the church-based center for a few hours-per-day.

As with every area of our Indian endeavor, your partnership on all levels is so valued and coveted. Watch for ways you can contribute to “CCDC” in the coming weeks and months.

And isn't our logo just the cutest thing ever?