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Mike Horn

Pentakatha ACT Project – Day 19 – 21

Our 19th day started off with a bit of bad news – Floren had gotten ill since there was a quite an outbreak of water-borne illnesses in the region. Dmitri and Shruti took her to the hospital in Bhubaneshwar while the rest of us continued the painting of the school, and making sure that the children implement the new hand washing system. The next day, our last day at the school and our last full day in India was a very busy day! We took the little boy with eye problems to the doctor again and got his diagnoses. Then we went and got him some glasses fitted – he was so chuffed with his glasses, he just couldn't stop smiling when he got back to school.

After that we took some homeless people floor mats and blankets, and bought their children toys. At school we had a meeting with the headmaster, and the entire school did a lovely presentation for us and presented us each with gifts – Gandhi's autobiography, flowers and a beautiful cloth which the children themselves had embroidered. We had a party with the children and gave them some sweets and more stationary as a parting gift from us.

Shanti, a 4 year old girl who attends the school had a terrible fever, so we decided to take her to the doctor. We went to Shanti's house in the village and asked her mother's permission. With Shanti, her mom, her sister and her cousin we then headed off to the doctor, where Shanti was examined. The doctor said that it was flu and he prescribed some medicine which we then bought and took Shanti and her family home. Everyone was so grateful to us and we were invited into Shanti's home. Shanti, with her mother and father
and sister all live in a 2m x 3m room with a single bed which they all share, yet despite their poverty , they were very hospitable and had bought us each a juice. It was a very humbling experience and one that I will never forget.

Luckily Floren was feeling better and was able to return to Puri for our last evening together. We had a lovely dinner and after that we all headed to bed for our last sleep before heading back to our respective countries.Since we were all only flying out the afternoon, we went to a Buddhist temple in Bhubaneshwar, where we got some very interesting photos. Mr Barik, our coordinator in India, took us out for lunch to thank us for all our hard work done at the school. We were taken to a large, beautiful hotel where we
had lunch at one of the various restaurants. Sadly it was time to say goodbye after lunch, and a few tears were shed but it was time to say goodbye. We hope our efforts will have made a real impact on the childrens' lives and we hope that the teachers, headmasters and children will apply what they have learnt.

We have all learnt so much more of India than a travel book could ever describe and it was most certainly a life changing experience, making us all appreciate all that we have so much more. We are so grateful to have been given this opportunity and I know that every single one of us will remember this trip for the rest of our lives.

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