Before leaving Ireland, one month in India seemed daunting, but it has passed by so fast; it is difficult to separate the days and the mix of emotions we feel. It will not be until we arrive home, until we begin to tell our stories of Morning Star, that the weight of the experience will hit us.
Life at Morning Star
Many people will be curious about what life was like in an Indian orphanage. But for us, the word orphanage does not fit. Morning Star is a home with a family like you and me, the difference being that everyone in the family has a different background. While the school children come to Morning Star from unfortunate or distressing circumstances, the boys and men with disabilities have, in almost all cases, experienced rejection. This home opened its doors and embraced them, giving every person who walks through the gates a better chance at life.
We have seen new boys being taken by the hand and given shirts off other boys backs. We have watched the children holding hands while draped over each other. There is a clear sense of unconditional love that exists here. Bonds of brotherhood have formed that will last long after the boys leave the warmth and security of their home.
Our role in Morning Star is not to be a teacher or a master. Despite helping the children with their English, we both found ourselves being the student. While we listened, talked, and played with the boys and men, transactions of knowledge, generosity, and love occurred. It would be unrealistic and ignorant if we arrived with the expectation to dramatically change each boy’s life. They are their own agents of change and, instead, have changed both our own mindsets and desires.
Expectation vs. Reality
Before travelling to India, we were cautioned about the people we would meet and the interactions we would have. Thus, we expected the project to be difficult and challenging, but in fact, it has been the opposite. The people we have met here have welcomed us so gracefully. Ireland is often called the Land of a Thousand Welcomes, but there is no competing with the kindness we received.
We created significant relationships and meaningful bonds with the boys and men here. We realised that the experience in this home has opened our minds in ways we have never expected because everyone is so kind. As it is approaching the final days here, we are truly saddened to be leaving. Memories of us both walking into Morning Star on our first day contrasts to our last, as we walk out with eighty more friendships and countless special memories.