A little bit of kindness

With so many horrible things happening in the world right now, I find myself wondering why. What is the fundamental issue within some humans that allows them to behave in such ways? How can anyone possibly think that killing innocent people, innocent children is ok? Why do human beings do this to each other? My heart feels heavy and a familiar dull ache sets in. Back in August, I saw a photo of a Syrian man holding his baby who was just a few months old. They had just arrived by boat to a new country where they would be living in a refugee camp. This picture is the reason that I am here today. As I looked at the photograph, I wondered what kind of life this child would have. I wondered about the sadness and the anger that might grow in his little heart. I wondered if he would ever have a normal childhood full of love, laughter and of course play. Maybe he would. But it made me think of all the other millions of innocent children around the world that wouldn’t, because of war or poverty. Children are ours to take care of. They are our responsibility – the little seeds of our planet. How they are grown up will one day be reflected in how they shape our world.

The child in the main photo of this blog is Deepak. He was the greatest helper at the last playground, so eager to learn and get things done. He picked us chah toot (berries) and was always bringing us water. Deepak is a kind, sweet soul.

 

In a world that is currently so filled with violence and sadness, we can still choose love. We can all do something about this. We can choose to be kind to one another, and to ourselves. Be kind to strangers, be kind to your family. Be especially kind to those that cannot be kind in return, for they are the ones that need it the most. We see enough anger and hatred on the news. We don’t need anymore of it in our daily lives. Choose kindness and love, always.

We are currently working on the 6th playground of 50. So, nearly 12% done! The kids love to help with the painting especially. At the last school, once we had finished with painting the playground and it was time to clean up, they decided they weren’t done yet. They started painting their school – the brick wall and the concrete floor. I thought this was hilarious. Some people (the principal) didn’t. Building playgrounds here in India is much different than our experience in Uganda. The materials are a lot easier to come by here. Some days the workers don’t show up, and sometimes they do. The language barrier has proven to be the biggest challenge. But no matter what, the children are always so excited when the team first arrives and brings the materials in. That is something we can always count on. 

Poor, rich, love

What is the scale to define poor, rich, and love! These thoughts all started last night when I was chatting with Sohnia, having a laugh at our life and I said “we are poor now, and we have a great life! hahaha”

As I said this sentence, a loud noise started in my head “we are poor! Are we actually poor right now? Well it has been a very long time since either one of us has made a dime. Our money is running out very fast. We are living on budget…” These thoughts and noise got stuck with me until today evening on the way back from our project, when it just hit me.

While I was sitting in the metro on the way to home, after a hot, tiring day, dazed off and lost in the noises in my head, I noticed the children on the seats in front of me. Their beautiful, innocent faces reminded me of the 4 children that joined us today to volunteer. They joined us because they wanted that the students of this school, also get to play like they can in their school’s playground. That reminded me of Deepak, the 8 years old that has been staying after school everyday to help us with what he can, and feed us the Shahtoots that he picks up from the tree. That brought a flash back of those orphan children in South Sudan refugee camps that shovelled and worked tirelessly to have their playgrounds…

These little souls are always up for sharing and loving. Sohnia and I have been so lucky to be in their service and learn from them. They are the purest state of love! Age, colour, language, and gender don’t mean anything to them but love, play, and share! I can not have done anything more valuable with my life. Monetary gains has not made me rich. Accumulation of things never made me feel rich. However, now I am the richest I have ever been.

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We recently visited the Taj Mahal – a worldwide symbol of love and devotion. I spent the evening watching Taj Mahal glowing gold in sunrise and couldn’t help but wonder about the authenticity of its story… Building a structure that costed millions of rupees 400 years ago to show your love for another person after her death (to put the value into perspective, it was estimated in 2015 the construction cost was around US$827 million). Was this done more for a display of wealth and power, and to be remembered in history as the man who did such a great act for his true love? Or was it truly done for love? Can we really show “love” with things? This beautifully placed pile of bricks, marble, and other materials which is now the grave to Shah Jahan and Mumtaz Mahal, sits just as intact as it was at the time of its completion in 1653. Does Taj Mahal matter to either of them now? My guess: no, probably not.

Was there anything that Shah Jahan could have done or just said to his lover before her death at the cost of zero dollars, which would be even more invaluable and expressive to her than building her the nicest grave?

How ironic, the most money ever spent to express love, is now the grave to the lovers.

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