Two Worlds


Today was a very difficult day; we still do not have a warden so that is the role that we have been trying to fill. It is something that has taken us way out of our comfort zone. Making sure teeth are brushed, fixing cuts, applying discipline, helping with homework, and to top it all off we don’t speak Hindi and the children don’t speak English. But what made this day hard for me was that I had to be the bad guy. There is a major Hindu holiday going on right now call Dushara, and this morning the girls were hanging on our arms begging us to take them to the festival. It was just not possible for us to take the girls all the way to the city by ourselves. To make matters worse no one was here to translate for us so I couldn’t even give a good explanation to them why we couldn’t go. Because of this incident I have now become Captain James Hook in Neverland.

There are things missing here, things that we are still learning about, things that we can’t figure out on our own. I have been thinking about what we should teach, how we can apply it, and really what we want this ashram to be like. Not just the rules but also the values we want them leave with, and the positive values that comes from their own culture. Something that we really do need is local support, and we already do have some great local people helping us. It is so crucial because they can help us with the things that we don’t understand. If it wasn’t for our local help there is no chance that we would have been able to do what we have done. There were legal procedures that they informed us about and they took us to the people we needed talk to find orphans.

In creating this ashram it has been a learning process for us. Keeping the culture of these girls is important because it is part of their identity. There are so many beautiful things in this culture, but also things that do not empower people to do good and love one another equally. This is why it is so crucial to be able to work with locals so that we can combine the best aspects of our two worlds. At this point I don’t have all the answers nor do I even have solution to how to run this perfectly. That’s why we are here, and that I know that it is only through the help of our friends we have met here that it will be able to produce a successful program.

-James Baird