I may have been born in Utah, but for some reason my heart longs for Chamba, every time I come around those mountains and see my small city I feel this feeling of peace, like I am home after a long journey.

Chamba is the place where the first YMAD expedition took place, it was the first taste of India that I had. It is where many youth have left a part of themselves, and it has changed their lives forever. There are 4 orphanages that we have worked in over the last few years. We were asked to follow up on previous projects and scout out some new ones, so it was another 12-hour car ride... But it was well worth it.

We were traveling and stayed with a very good friend MR. Prakosh Domi, an older man who owns a travel company. His house is a good 1 ½ mile hike, pretty much straight up the mountain. When we reached his guest house we had the most beautiful view of the Himalayas, it had been raining so the tips of the great mountains were dusted in snow.

After a goodnights rest, we arose and hiked down to the car. We headed to the heart of Chamba to the girls orphanage we call Temple, this because of several historical stone Hindu temples near by. One of the reasons we kept coming back to India was because of these girls. The building they live in is over 200 years old and is about to collapse. One of YMAD’s main objectives is to get a new facility for these girls. We had hoped that these girls would want move to Kullu to a new and better facility.

It was good to see their faces, I have seen them grow up and they have done just that grown up! It has been wonderful to see that process I feel like I have watched a sibling grow up. We had a good visit with the girls in Temple and talked about moving some of them to Kullu. They were intimidated by the offer, and expressed that they wanted to stay in Chamba. I felt their fear as they spoke, everything in their lives has been hard and inconsistent. The only sense or normalcy they had was between each other, they were their own family and the thought of moving and possibly splitting up was more than they wanted to deal with. When we first met them we promised that we would find them a new place to live, and we keep our word. So the search for their facility continues….

-James Baird