We have had so much dancing in the past week! The Marriott Day was our turn to entertain them for a change (although they did bring a great magician with them.) Katie Winder, one of our fabulous volunteers who is a student at the Boston Conservatory, was here for a month and worked tirelessly each day working on new dance routines with the children. On the day the Marriott associates were here, along with a great program by the children, Katie also did a beautiful ballet routine out in the middle of the mango grove. She looked so lovely and for many of the adults, it was the first time watching ballet. Also, her students loved seeing her dance. Also performing that day was Rhadika Kannan, our newest volunteer (here for a year.) She was born and raised in California, but her parents and grandma are from Southern India, and Rhadika grew up bilingual (Tamil being her other language). She has taught in the public schools in California, is ESL certified, and performs and teaches Indian Classical dance. She is an answer to many prayers! She is going to teach a variety of subjects in the school, has prepared a wonderful curriculum for our housemothers to improve their English, and will be teaching dance for the year! How incredible is that. She is such a lovely example of both cultures that make up her background.
Becky was here for almost a week, and we were grateful for every day. Everyone is so thrilled when she comes, and the children are just ecstatic. She lifts and encourages each and everyone of us. She and Padma and the Hansons had a great day working on the Micro-finance program. We are excited to see the direction it is taking, and thrilled that Padma is truly enthused about it all. She had such a hard time when her father died, and we were afraid we would never get her back. We are going to join with a national group, Mitra National Forum for Leprosy Rehabilitation, which will give us a far wider sphere of influence, but still we will be able to maintain our autonomy in the colonies we now work with. Padma is on the national board, which will give Rising Star Outreach more clout. Exciting step forward.
The dentists (3 from Utah with family members) arrived yesterday, and by 9:00 Monday morning were ready to see their first patients. They came completely ready to work with three complete dental set-ups: chairs and all equipment needed for fillings, extractions, and any other requirements. They will see every child in the school during the next five days and try to head off the awful problems we see with the older people, particularly in the leprosy colonies. This great gift has come about through Scott McGavin, who is David Archuleta's dentist. David got excited about the project and raised funds to help make it financially possible and Scott got two of his dentist buddies to sign on with him. Thanks go to David, Scott McGavin, Steve Aste and John VandenBerghe, and family members who are working as assistants. On Friday, they will visit a colony or two with help for some of the leprosy affected people. The full story will follow in the next post!
Pictures: Children, finale; Katie Winder; Rhadika Kannan; Katie, Becky and Rhadika; Reagan VandenBerghe with Satish; Lance McGavin and Dr. Scott McGavin, Dr. Steve Aste