After years of thinking and planning and doing and talking and re-planning and re-thinking and recreation, I have finally arrived. I have crossed the border and have arrived at my final destination: India!
This blog has apparently reached a lot of readers already, so when I crossed the border from Pakistan, a huge crowd had gathered to welcome me and the bouncy castle (see the video on the right). After this warm welcome, I arrived in Amritsar, the holy city of the Sikhs, and the hospitality continued. Sikhs believe in welcoming people from all faiths, so all visitors can stay & eat for free in their temples. Which I did.
Thanks to the interview I gave to Bayern 2 I had contact to the Hope project, a Rosenheim (Germany)/ Dehra Dun (India) based NGO which helps street children in Dehra Dun. I arrived in their “Hope Home” outside of the city, where around 45 children live and where the bounce should take place.
The first day was characterized by heavy rainfalls, so I had the chance to visit their school in a slum in Dehra Dun, because we wanted to provide the castle for these kids as well. Unfortunately, the slum street planners had not thought of a big square in the area, and had made all the streets really tiny and narrow, so that we could not find any place (and I ripped down various snack bags from one mini market with my umbrella). Anyway, we decided to set up the castle in the Hope Home and transfer the slum children to the place with a bus. Easy!
Next day, the weather was more appropriate for a sub-tropical country and we put the castle into the middle of the Hope Home. The orphans from the Hope Home (red clothes) were joined by the children living in the slum (blue school uniform) and even some disabled children from the nearby village. Just the power went off quite frequently, but that created a certain suspense, as the children never knew how long they could enjoy their time on the castle. They jumped every second as if it was their last!
The next day, I was invited to a Ukrainian project in Dehra Dun, which operates four orphanages and a little school for the children, all of them in the city this time. The school yard was too small of course (urban planners: please consider bouncy castle in your future plannings!), but we could use a nearby cricket ground (cricket ground planners: well done!). Friendly neighbours borrowed us electricity, and the orphans jumped together with the interested children living close by.
So, the castle has reached India and the first events were a lot of fun. Mission fulfilled?
NO, I want MORE!