18th November 2018

As we now cross the middle of November the winter weather is beginning to set in. Mornings are a crisp, chilly, smokey entrance into an otherwise warm day. By evening fires are lit around the mission to keep all of us warm before we tuck ourselves in for the night.

Vishal races off towards the rising morning sun on his way to school.
Dinner in Rick's house around the fireplace.

Before we get into the fun, lets deal with the serious business. Construction of our Staff Accommodation continues to make great progress. A backhoe was called in to dig the remaining footings, the holes were quickly leveled off and footings for the double story building laid. We are so happy to be back at work on this project.

Digging out the footings for the new building.
Eugene keeping an eye on the backhoe.
Even with the backhoe some work has to be done by hand.
One of the 27 columns being carried into place.
Another couple of weeks and it will really start to look like a building.

Our other major construction, the Big Boys Hostel roof, is also making excellent progress. Rick had some extra help this week from Phil Laidler (a friend from Australia) as well as Parwat, Kamal, Anish and his regular workshop team. All the trusses have been cut, welded up and installed in place. Everyone, including Rick, was impressed with the speed at which this project is being completed.

This project was a great chance for Parwat to learn to weld and Rick was all too happy to teach him.
Phil using our compressor to blow out the drilled hole ready to bolt the truss down.
All the trusses are now installed and ready for the next step.

Now that the business side of things is out of the way we can tell you about Children's Day. Each year on the 14th of November schools across India celebrate Children's Day, held on the birthday of Jawaharlal Nehru (India's first Prime Minister) it is a chance to break from the norm and have a little fun.

In our school we would normally hold our School Fair, but due to a stream of unforseen circumstances the fair has been postponed and instead a Games Day was organized for our extremely excited kids. It was a lot of fun, perhaps not as much as the School Fair could have been, but there were certainly no complaints.

School children flood the playground like ants on a picnic.
The Scorpion is always a favorite for our little ones.
A natural line formed to scale the dragons back and slide down his snout.
The go-carts, which are normally not made available to our school kids, were a massive crowd pleaser.
Manisha definitely enjoyed this more than regular classes.
You may remember that our playgrounds were built last year by Playground Ideas.
For those who weren't so interested in the playgrounds there were heaps of other events: tug-of-war, a football tournament, badminton, organized tag, kho kho,board games, duck-duck-goose, volleyball, Ring a Ring o' Rosie... it was an endless list of activities that made for a fun packed day for our children.
Spectators sit on the library steps to watch the thrilling football match which ended up in a penalty shoot out.
Dhiraj unfortunately failed to stop this shot and his team lost the match.
The two football teams post match, still friends despite the heated match.
Ankit was our commentator for the day.
The girls Kho Kho match had hundreds of spectators.
Kelly, ready to launch off after her opponent.
For an explanation of how to play Kho Kho take a look at the video linked below...
How to play Kho Kho

For those who were not so interested in games a book fair had been organized in advance and children were able to browse a huge list of titles and purchase both books, games and puzzles to take home. It was truly an epic day to be at Maxton Strong School.

Students line up to hear the rules of the Book Fair.
The Batman colouring-in books were a big favorite.
Shivam flicking through the pages of a Spiderman crafts book.

After school the Children's Day celebrations continued as we piled into the tractor and utility and headed off to the jungle for the afternoon. It was a wonderful chance to hang out as a family, play more games, relax on the grass and just have a little fun.

Our makeshift jungle camp for the afternoon.
Kamal trying to score a hockey goal from the other end of the field.
Anthea was not afraid of the boys and pushed right through the center.
Sohalia also wanted to play some hockey.
Trudy preferred badminton to hockey.
(a lot less chance of getting whacked in the leg)
Niyati was happy playing with her blocks.
Clifton tickling Peter until they both nearly wet their pants.
Anthea sharing out peanuts to a few friends.
Rick helped get the fire going and prepared some snacks.
Jungle popcorn is the best popcorn.
Ruhani was definitely excited for the popcorn.
Now we are going to let you in on a little secret. One of our favorite snacks while in the jungle is to chop up tomato, onion and chili and mix it raw in a packet of Ramen noodles. Sprinkle a little lemon juice in the packet and you have a treat that makes our mouths water (seriously, my mouth is watering just thinking about it ~Clifton). Give it a try, it is a great, healthy alternative to boiling your 2 minute noodles.
Kelly chopping up some onions for the noodles.
Not exactly Michelin Star knife work there.
Shane, who wants to be a cook, helped to chop up chilies and tomatoes.
Shanes knife work was a little more refined.
Jackie and Rajesh mixing up their noodles.
Kamal's noodles ready to eat. Note the green chilies!
The sun beginning to set on a truly excellent Children's Day.

As we end this weeks newsletter Rick, Clifton and Priscilla are sitting in the office at 9:30pm waiting for a huge shipment of toys sent from a friend in Dubai. A fitting end to our Children's Day newsletter. We look forward to sharing with you next week about these amazing gifts, but for now... we have a truck to unload.

Blessing on you,
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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