28 October 2018

On a large farm like ours, harvest time is always a swirl of activity. There are fields to harvest, crops to organize, and lots of labor needed to get it all done. It's a time when everyone pitches  in for the good of the mission, even though the hours can be long and the work can be hard.

Many of our boys spent some sweaty hours out in the fields this week helping to bring another successful harvest to a close. It only happens three times a year but still, we thank them all for getting the job done. You guys are amazing.
Shane launches another load of rice straw onto the trailer.
Anish keeping the job rolling.
The fields are wide and expansive...and so is the work.
Kevin getting into his work.
Another full load, heading to unload.

The thing's not all work.  Especially when the camera shows up. It takes virtually no prompting to get the boys to show off for the camera and relax a bit. During this welcomed break, the boys worked hard to out do each other, striving for more and more dramatic hay-themed poses. Here are a few of the best shots from the Rice Harvest Photo Shoot.

Raju showing off his back flip skills into the paraal (straw  from rice).
Ajay could not look happier or more relaxed.
Kamal accidentally kicked Shane shortly after this picture was taken.
Rohit tossing his burdens into the wind!
The run of Rampal's running dive was more dramatic than the actual dive.
A cow got her head stuck in a fence this week but after Rick sawed off her horns and freed her...Raju had a picture idea.

The small boys kept the fun rolling this week with a visit to the jungle and a swim in a chilly river. The banks along the slowly flowing water are quite high, allowing for some more dramatic jumping. Even little Malik got into the action, splashing a warm afternoon away. A very well deserved chance to simply play.

Malik daring a mighty plunge from a fallen tree stump.
Rampal upping the ante.
The boys taking a break from the splashing mayhem for a quick group pose.
In addition to the work and play, we celebrated a milestone this week as Lucy our beloved staff member turned 50 years young. A party was held in the dining hall and, as is Indian custom, Lucy threw us all a delicious dinner and the youngest party goers got to play with balloons late into the night. Happy birthday, Lucy. Here's to another 50 to come.
Fifty is nifty.
Birthday candles were made for kids.
We did have a few accidents this week. One was little Nyeti who fell out of Cynthia's top bunk and suffered a nasty knock on her noggin. Three stitches later, she is sporting a wounded-in-action head wrap, but is not slowed down in the least. Doctors say she will be just fine and for that we give thanks.
Nyeti with her concerned friend Sohalia.
Little Dylan Shipway also had a bad accident this week when a piece of window glass broke (as he was banging on it) and cut his hand badly. He was a little subdued for a few minutes, but it will take more than a few nearly-severed tendons to slow this powerhouse of energy down. 
Aaron is in awe of his brother's one-hand dancing moves.

We do want to take a moment to acknowledge a few return visitors here at the mission. The first is Uncle John Marshall who is making his 14th trip to the farm. After four months in Australia and America, we are happy to have him back with us, bringing his unique brand of humor, fun and love into our kids lives once again. 

John always has time for the smallest of the mission kids.
And they always have time for him.
(Photos by Jess Singh)

The second is Ben Elstner, making his second visit. This 18 year old from Maryland, USA will be attending college in February, but he wanted to take a half gap year and made the mission a stop on his trip. An accomplished chess player, Ben is hosting a chess tournament at our school, teaching and encouraging the kids to love the game like he does. But really it's just fun to have him around. All the kids love him! Welcome back, Ben.

Ben working in the fields with the small boys.
Ben at the chess practice sessions, teaching Debbie the ways of the game.
Rick and Eugene came to cut the ribbon to declare the tournament officially open.
Gordon teaching Rajesh some strategy.
Debbie taking her game very seriously.
Rena learning the ropes across from Trudy.

The tournament will be going on all week and outside schools will be coming in to compete. Ben has brought trophies and certificates, and has even been featured on the local news. We'll keep you posted as the competition heats up.

Well, that's about it for another week. As always, we want to thank all of our friends and supporters from around the world. We also want to say a special thanks to everyone who contributed on our Projects page for the Rotovator Eugene was hoping to get. Basically, it's a powerful tiling machine that cuts down field preparation dramatically. We hooked it up and got to work with it this week. But it would not be possible with out the generosity of so many of you. 

Eugene and company, getting the orange Rotovator ready to roll.
Kullu operating our Rotavator for the first time, it's  doing a great job!

As we go, please keep our children in your prayers. Many of them are working through a host of skin rashes and minor medical conditions. And please pray for fast healing for Nyeti and Dylan (though honestly, both seem to be doing just fine.) See you next week.

Blessing on you,
John, Rick, (Clifton), Eugene & Priscilla

Copyright © 2018 The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission
The Good Shepherd Agricultural Mission is a registered non-profit and society in Uttarakhand, India that undertakes the care of around 75 orphan and destitute children. The Mission works to be as self-supporting as possible through income generated internally by it's farm and school. For more information see our website.

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Strong Farm
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