About that trip to India
Note: If you’re here to read about baseball, you’ll want to skip past this entry now. It has nothing to do with the Pirates. So if you decide to read on, don’t say you weren’t warned.
As I mentioned in a short blog entry two weeks ago, I made plans to travel to India this month to give my time at an orphanage there. My intention in letting you know of my travel plans earlier this month wasn’t so much to tell you of my destination as it was to let you know why the blog would be stale over a two-week period.
However, when I returned home on Saturday, I found dozens of emails from readers asking for more details about my time in India. The trip wasn’t necessarily something I planned to blog about publically because I didn’t know if any of you out there really cared about how I spend my personal time. But since there is apparently some interest out there, I’m more than happy to tell you a little about the trip and share some photos.
While I was in a Philadelphia hotel room in October (on the road covering the NLCS), I got word that there would be an opportunity for me and a friend of mine to travel to Angels’ Place orphanage in east India in January. I jumped at the chance.
My stay at the orphanage lasted five days, and I am happy to report that so much was accomplished. One of the most rewarding projects we undertook was opening a library at the orphanage. When we arrived, the children (127 in all) had no access to books outside of those at school. By the time we left, a library had been established.
The children gravitated to the books immediately, and their eagerness to read was both astounding and inspiring. The task now is to collect books to send to India so that the library can be properly stocked. This is my next endeavor. If anyone wishes to donate books, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me. I will be at PirateFest over the weekend and could certainly pick up books there from someone who might want to make a donation.
In addition to starting the library, much of our time was spent teaching new songs and games to the children. We also taught Bible stories and brought over arts and crafts projects. They insisted I play a game of soccer with them, and I helped teach them how to play American football. Maybe next time, we’ll try baseball.
It was also entertaining to try and explain my job to them. Baseball (as we all know) is not well-known in India, so I had to evoke comparisons to cricket quite often. And no, I couldn’t find anyone who knew about Rinku or Dinesh. I asked.
These children were living examples of survival and perseverance. Their stories of loss and abandonment put things in perspective very quickly. The journey was certainly worthwhile, and I hope that the children benefited as well. Without a doubt, they taught me more than I could have offered them.
Since it’s not every day that you find yourself in India, I tacked on a few days after my time at the orphanage to do some sightseeing. I made stops in Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, where I visited the Taj Mahal and other historical sights.
I survived driving through the streets that have no road rules and are shared by cattle, cars, mopeds, camels and people. I survived living in an orphanage with no working shower, no hot water and no electricity. I survived bargaining in the markets so that I could come home with a few souvenirs. I survived the 15-hour flight from Delhi to New York and all the other travel inconveniences we dealt with.
And yes, I would do it all over again.
So there you go… a little insight into how I spent the last two weeks. I certainly have more information about the orphanage for anyone who wants to email me personally. And I am sure the team would be glad to know that one of the children now owns a Pirates shirt — it was among the many items I left as donations.
Thanks again for your interest. And now, back to baseball on this blog.
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