It’s not every day that we take a dozen children off the streets of India to give them baths, haircuts, clothing and lunch. We had no idea what to expect!
When the kids arrived at the children’s home for the afternoon, they spilled out of the vans with smiles and laughter. After a flurry of introductions, they instantly scrambled into play with us, uninhibited by any language barriers and happy to show and receive affection.
“They’re so smiley, so happy!” said Hattie .
The kids loved to dance. Bharat, a fourteen year old rough-houser, danced just like Michael Jackson. Four-year-old Rikki spun around like a teenager. Some of the little kids were as good as Areli and she’s had many years of dancing lessons!
After playing for a while, it was time to give the kids baths. Katie and Paul gave baths, and I helped them dry off and get into clothes. We had to wash some girls’ hair several times to get it clean and then combed their knotted hair.
Cleaned, dried, and combed, the children were sent to Jen, a hair-stylist-turned-missionary. Her shears were first met with suspicion. But by the end of the afternoon, the kids fought over the privilege of sweeping up the mess and examining her equipment.
It was fun to play with the kids! The did everything with intensity—laugh, cry, play. “I guess living on the streets does that…” I mused.
It was difficult to say goodbye. We’d given them an afternoon, yes, but had we changed anything? Had we given them a bed for the night? Food for the next morning?
All I knew is we had done what we could. It was up to God to take care of them, and to send more people to help. Maybe one day, each of these precious children would have a safe home and enough food to eat. I could only pray that it would be true.
“God…please protect your little ones,” I prayed, my eyes stinging with tears as the vans drove them back to their makeshift homes in the streets.