We are back...healthy and feeling very blessed and humbled by our experiences over the past week
We landed last night at around 7 o'clock... In Delhi time that is 2.30am in the morning... After warm welcomes from those who had come to collect us from the airport and excited chatter about our experiences, we suddenly felt very tired.
What were those last days like?
As we awoke on Saturday morning it was to the realisation the painting was over and a celebration lay ahead. We all got dressed in our resplendent (bling!) outfits to go to Seelampur for the last time on this trip.
We were greeted by the usual throng of excited children and led to the gates of the clinic, which had been cleaned and decorated with garlands in anticipation of the celebration. Amidst all the preparation we were shown some dance moves that were to be part of the ceremony....great fun! A growing sense of excitement built as people slowly gathered dressed in their best clothes, chairs surrounded the central courtyard where mats had been laid, the adults filled the chairs whilst the children sat on the mats. The colour and the sound was wonderful as the excitement and anticipation built. (you have to see the photographs for it was truly beautiful and one that we will remember for a long time.)
At last Sebord called the ceremony to a start by ushering us all out of the building and arranging a ribbon to be placed at the entrance. Amanda was given a pair of scissors, made a brief speach and with photographers cameras flashing the ribbon was cut and the newly decorated clinic declared open!
The little children started the celebration by placing garlands of flowers around our necks, which was followed by a speach by an older boy (Mohit) and then by a representative of the womens group. After these initial speaches we were treated to a dance display by Shiv....if you have ever seen a Bollywood film, you will know the type of dance routine. To say that Shiv had all the moves is an undertstatement-he had them all and more!
It then fell to us to speak. Amanda spoke first thanking each and everyone for their support and help, transalted by Freddie and this was followed by us all performing two songs, one in English (Strength will rise) and one in Hindi (Jai Yeshu) and then performing an English country dance. Big thanks to Heather for having shown us the moves the day before...what made the dance really special was being joined by two of Asha's Seelampur team (Ashima and Pooja).
Finally, Jez presented an 'original' Indian International cricket team shirt to the best player from our match on thursday and gave a brief speach on never giving up and keeping your eyes on Jessu. Freddie followed calling us to do two thinks; Love the Lord our God and our neighbour as ourselves...we were particularly touched by the way the group listened to Freddie, a father figure to all.
The whole event conlcuded by a free for all dance...we saw some great St Stephens movers and shakers... there is clear Bollywood talent in the team!
Sometime later after most had left we had a final time of prayer with the Asha team. Amanda handed out presents and we had a very emotional farewell. We left to go out for our final meal in Delhi, where we had the opportunity of extended our thanks to Amanda for her fantastic organisation and leadership (she has been truly amazing)
By 9.00am we were all in the van ready to be taken to the airport, each of us carrying the reflections of all the ways we had seen and heard the Lord move in Seelampur and in us.
Chris and Helen