Little Did I Know

Robert Baird

The days go quickly as we try to make a difference in the lives of the women and children of Chamba. Like so many time before, things don't always go as planned. It is miraculous how the right things seem to be presented and the right people seem to show up to allow for things to happen in a way far better than one could conceive. That has been my consistent observation in all of the years I have been coming to this beautiful part of the world.

Some of our team were disappointed when we discovered that the children who live in the ashrams had been sent home for a holiday prior to our arrival. What has occurred in the wake of that news is that we have been able to serve so many of the small children of the rural villages that in some cases have less than those children we originally intended to serve. We have also discovered some other rural villages that we would have never known about if that had not happened. One of our teams is now working in one of the most beautiful locations I have seen in Chamba. This school is situated overlooking the Chamera II reservoir, surrounded by wheat fields and fruit trees. I met the first downs syndrome child I have ever seen in India. His big brown eyes captured my heart!
Making a difference means experiencing failure on a daily basis as well. It seems that as we make positive progress there are set backs always looming around the corner. But through the failures come small miracles. I have the best team of translators we have ever had in India. They were all introduced to us because of of a project in another community that has had some set backs. They saw what we were trying to do in Himachal Pradesh and have stepped forward to help with no agenda. It has been so great to seem them interact with our youth and help us
with situations in each of rural communities we are working in.
One of the great rewards of working with people is to see the progress some make after crossing our paths. Over a two years ago I met some girls struggling to get an education, from a very remote area of Chamba called Ronikot/Tisahh, two small villages on the Cashmere boarder. A year ago three of these girls came came out of the mountains to be with our team to learn some english. Yesterday one of the girls heard we were coming to Chamba and showed up at the NHPC where we are staying. As we embraced after such a long time it was confirmed once again why I am here. To discover she had just completed her 10th standard class made my day! Giving hope is what it is all about. It is something money can't buy! It takes continual effort, enduring the disappointments and having enough faith in someone greater than us that the right things will work out!
Little did I know over nine months ago when the youth named this expedition Ummid, hope in english, that it would be so relevant! Gotta Love this work!