When you think of the word orphanage, what comes to mind?
Is it kids in battered clothes, begging eyes, and dirty faces? Maybe its dark rooms lined with the absence of love + care?
Thankfully what our minds imagine and what the media portrays is not always accurate.
We gathered as a team in Delhi, braving the busy highways filled with cows, child beggars, tuk tuks, rickshaws, cars and trucks. All beeping their horns far more than seemed necessary over the 8-10 hour drive to Banbasa, a little town on the boarder of Nepal.
It was dark when we first stepped foot on the grounds at The Good Shepherd Agriculture Mission, otherwise known as Indian Orphanage or as everyone refers to it: the farm.
Anticipation was high, and our jet lagged body’s were worn but I clearly remember being overcome with such a sense of peace the minute my feet stepped out of the car, all while being embraced and welcomed in by Rick, Clifton, Pris and all the staff immediately.
In the next ten days we wove our way into the farms daily routines, from the rooster crowing and worship music waking us each morning to the many hugs goodnight after the sun had cast its last light over the wheat fields, we were graced with the opportunity to listen and capture the many beautiful stories that make the farm home to so many.
I watched in wonder at how beautifully the kids were taken care of, stewarded and most of all loved. And was constantly blow away that the farm is practically self sustainable (complete a school, kindergarten, staff housing, a leper colony, housing for all the kids, a vege patch, wheat fields, a dairy, a workshop where the desks and much more are fixed and made, a mango and lychee orchard, a fish pond, even a cow manure methane trap to power the oven and stoves, just to name a few!)
I may have entered this trip with the knowledge that I was going to serve at an orphanage, but I left with Ricks final words to me ringing true “you’re family now”
Good Sheppard may be labelled as an “orphanage” but anyone who has been welcomed in knows that that label is quickly forgotten, I rather felt completely at home, blessed by the presence of true community and embraced by a family.
Because that’s exactly what they are, it may not be a biological family but it is no less of a family.
The 10 day trip with the team seemed to go by too quickly, but as I the watched the airport doors shut as they made their way to check in, I was replaying the many treasured memories from the last week over in my head, never did I think that a week later I would fine myself stepping out of the car after a long drive to be greeted by familiar grinning faces that I now recognised as friends screaming “Sister Amy! You’re back!”
To be continued…