Tag Archives: orphans

school bus life and acrobats…

Picking up village kids along the way…that is Sree Devi on the left, she is the headmistress of Butterfly H school, she has this gift of quiet authority and i think is the kindest human being i ever met in my life.

…so it’s another trip to Butterfly H, i love it there more and more, while waiting for lunch some boys start to show off for me and do some crazy acrobatics. Am terrified for them but they are fearless and apparently made out of rubber.

The bus to and from is always a lot of fun…three small boys in front giggle and prod and poke at my arms and hands…”marvelling” at the colour of my skin.

This little girl, Swarthi, who is normally too shy to speak recites the alphabet and counts to 100…yes one HUNDRED.

The boy sitting behind her comes and sits beside me and leans into me pulling my arm tight around him, he stays like that the whole 1 hour 15 minutes of the journey…he is 13 years old and has not been here so long, he is desperate for affection. This is not unusual in an orphanage but sometimes its easy to forget about the boys, the girls are so much more open about being affectionate. I go to my room and cry and cry… i don’t know why this boy moved me so much but he did. I love being here but psychologically it’s a tough place to be in sometime…but i pull myself together quickly, the last thing these kids need is a weepy foreigner in their midst it’s simply not useful to anyone! You have to live in the moment here, small acts of kindness and attention go along way and in the end, that’s the best i can do…

middle of somewhere…

… so i find myself yet again in an unusual situation. For some reason one of the organisers here insisted i accompanied the doctors who were going to see another facility. Its a residential place for mentally handicapped orphans that is also under the care and share umbrella. So we drove and we drove into the middle of somewhere and we eventually got to the place, we pull up a road that was lined by a number of men squatting to defecate, backsides akimbo pointing towards the road, while on the other side was a lake of stagnant water. Round another corner and we are there. Half the facility is a high school and the other half looks after the handicapped kids.


High school girls who were fascinated by my hair, which they think is much more beautiful than theirs despite the fact that it is the same style of two braids and is dark brown rather than black. Theirs is longer, shinier and nicer…but they were having none of it!

…and course the place is run by nuns, so there are icons, Jesus and Mary everywhere and also for some reason the place is full of large billowing curtains which coupled with the religion gave the place an ethereal, other worldly impression.



Not that it was a sad place, the kids seemed well looked after and stimulated, but can’t the same thing be done with a little less Jesus i kept asking myself? On the other hand, one of the reasons Christianity has been so readily embraced here is that it ignores the very strong caste system…Anyway,  the docs started snapping away, and the kids (like everywhere else i have been) asked to have their picture taken, but i stopped very soon.


What am i going to do with these pictures and why am i taking them? I photograph the kids all the time in Daddy’s Home, why should this be any different. But i stopped none the less.

We ate biscuits in a small refectory that was lined by a tide mark that rose one meter plus up the walls. In Oct, after severe rains, the Krishna river burst its banks and flooded the area, the nuns and orphans had to be rescued by a navy boat that sailed up the courtyard to come and save them at three in the morning. I feel a film script coming on.



sunday and the weather…

The weather has changed and it has started raining intermittently, the humidity barometer now reads at 102% (is this possible, should i now be swimming??) There are huge puddles everywhere, its fine here in the campus where everything is clean, but anywhere outside it is a bit of a health challenge…can’t begin to imagine what it is like during monsoon season. Sunday is the only day the kids don’t go to school, so they are everywhere: playing, studying for exams, going to church (like i said, there are a lot of christian/catholic indians here…)

around the campus:



“da carlo” the orphanage barber (spot the italian influence)


coal fired iron


The kitchen: that huge grindy machine bottom right grinds coconut into a paste for curries.


babies home – standing: zoe and abby (some have indian some anglo names), zoe is HIV positive and abby arrived here in a terrible state last year having been tortured by her grandmother.



Trying very hard not to just post photos of cute orphans, but this is what happens in my house every afternoon after lunch: