It was an honor to spend a week at the New Horizons House in Podu, India. What an incredible, life changing, emotional and rewarding few days it’s was. My entire trip summed up into one word? Love.
So what was it like? In a world of a 1000 languages, there are some things that are translated easily in all of them. Feelings of love, happiness, and smiles! The smiles of all 30 girls upon my arrival said it all.
A quick tour of the grounds showed that our facility is in great shape (as it should be given it’s new), but really what I saw was an incredible infrastructure that goes well above the standards of living from where our girls are from. As I continued the tour, I learned and met all the people associated with NHH. I toured the 3 classrooms, met the teachers who provide education, and learned more about the vocational training that our girls are gaining. All of these skills are what the girls will take with them in the future. I met our in-house nurse and learned all that she provides from the moment the girls arrive to simple daily items. I toured the housing facilities which include 2 bathrooms per room that house 5 girls each. They were immaculately clean and looked quite comfortable. I met with the 2 counselors that spend time individually with the girls and found they take pride in assisting with restoration. After a short time in the main room which serves as the group meeting space and dining hall, I made my way to the outside area where there are gardens for the girls to plant herbs and vegetables. From there I saw the new chicken coop and grassland where we now have two water buffalo. All this in an effort to be more sustainable. The water buffalo provide milk and the chickens provide eggs, both are providing the girls with much needed nutrition.
Enough on the facility, let’s talk about the girls. Throughout my visit, I had the opportunity, along with a counselor, to spend time with all of the girls in a small group setting. This allowed me time to get to know them a little better, or really let them get to know me a little better. As trust formed more of their stories were shared, and to say it was gut wrenching would be a severe understatement. While I won’t share any specifics here, let’s just say what these girls have been through is unreal. Even more mind altering was seeing how strong these girls really are. They maintain hope for a better future, which is our main goal at NHH.
Below are some of the questions and answers from my small group sessions.
Question 1: Are you happy here?
The answer, overwhelmingly, Yes. Some elaborated, “This is the best place I’ve ever lived.” “I’m so happy here because I feel loved.” “This place feels like the family I never had.”
Question 2: What is your favorite thing about being at NHH?
Answers: “I am loved here.” “I love that I can learn. I was forced to quit school at 9 years old, and here I am learning again.” “I am treated like a real person here.” “The Food is the best I’ve ever had!”
Question 3: What can we do to make this place even better for you? …..the answer to this question was not what I expected.
“Get more girls.” “Get my friends out.” “Build more rooms so you can get more girls.” Over and over I heard this and am so encouraged the girls feel this way.
I am so excited to report to you about the success of the trip. I left with a heart full of smiles and an understanding of knowing that these girls are receiving the best in love, education and a hope for new life through the restoration that NHH is providing.
Thanks to all of you for your continued support in New Horizons House as I saw first hand the success of what your donations, volunteering and overall support continues to do for these girls!