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12th January 2018

Another seven days has passed and the time has come once again for us to fill you in on our week, and what a week it has been! We've seen a stack of birthdays, each one was celebrated in it's own unique way. The first that we would like to share is Dylan's. For his 6th birthday Dylan made sure his parents knew he wanted a t-rex dinosaur, a puppy, a catfish, a lizard, a rabbit, a rat, a remote control car, a parrot, a train, a motorbike, a helicopter, a box of candy, a video game, a chariot, a skateboard and of course, a bow and arrow. Just a few requests... and just a few were accomplished!

Dylan blowing out the candles of his dinosaur cake.
Malik was super excited about his brothers remote control car.
Yep, he really did get a puppy! Welcome to the family Princess.
Princess was given by some friends in the mountains, she is ADORABLE.
Catherine made sure Dylan got his catfish too! Job brought them on a bus in a bucket all the way from Khatema!

Gail is also here visiting from Delhi. As one of our Alumini, Gail is back visiting as she awaits her visa to allow her to move to Canada. While here Gail celebrated her birthday with our staff and some kids -another great chance to come together and have some fun.

Staff and volunteers gather to celebrate Gail's birthday.
Happy Birthday Gail!
Malik was happy for his popcorn.

Kurena is the next one to celebrate the sun making a complete revolution around their life. Her party was a little more upbeat; as a special treat her friends set up a disco dance party up on the roof of the office, complete with bonfire! The girls celebrated and danced late into the night until they were fully satisfied and fully exhausted.

Kurena's dance/birthday party starting to wind up.
The girls gather to blow out the candles, Kurena is in the middle.
The bonfire on the roof. We want to be Frank and just say this party was awesome!

The final birthday was not celebrated here on the mission, it was celebrated in the jungle! Sareena turned nineteen and took all of her friends off for a trek to the riverside to party. It was a fun little time with snacks, selfies and a campfire. The girls came home well after dark. Before going to bed Sareena was heard saying "that was the best birthday ever!".

A Walk To Remember.
On route to the party...
As the girls crossed a log bridge Kushbu fell face-first into the cold water. She didn't get hurt, but laughed it off and continued the journey soaked.
Gathered for the party.
In lieu of a cake Sareena had a samosa!
The party was right by the riverside.
Sareena (middle) definitely loved her party.
The photo sessions went on for a while...
A few more snacks under the setting sun.
The campfire kept everyone warm as the sun set behind the horizon.
Even many of us who were not celebrating birthday got presents this week, the first lot came from our good friends Manjul and Alka Saxena who sent some items to help make life a little easier and a little safer for all of us. Here are some of our boys in the new construction helmets that they provided for our workshop:
Thanks for keeping
The second lot of gifts was a bunch of small toys and some clothing from our friend Aashish in Australia. Aashish, if you are reading this, our boys loved the cars! The shirts were a perfect fit for our older boys and the calligraphy is a hit with the girls!
Playing with the new toys.
Raj and Vishwajeet are the happiest pirates on the mission!
Indro loved the little cow Aashish, thank you!
The third gifts were literally gifts! Individually wrapped presents for each one of our children thanks to our friend Cheanna from Canada. Cheanna ran a GoFundMe campaign last year and put together these amazing little packages for each one of our kids. They were overjoyed to receive them!
There was a gift for every child on the mission.
Jimika receiving her gift.
Ayushi tearing into her gift with a huge smile!
Roma had some help from Catherine to open hers.
Each gift was unique, filled with books, stationary, toys, hair accessories, puzzles and more.
Raymond ready to let his wind up car loose.
This natural bacteria will grow over the next few weeks in the drums to form fertilizer.
As usual Ganesh our carpenter has been busy, his focus is currently on making new furniture for our Small Boys Hostel. New beds, cupboards, a coat of paint and some new posters for the walls have brought new life to the old hostel. Aunty Violet is overjoyed, as of this week she now has 13 young boys in her hostel -and they sure keep her busy!
On the farm we are trying something a little different this year. Thanks to the advice of our Inspector General of Police we are growing our own natural fertilizer, a simple bacteria that grows in water and, when poured into the fields, provides Nitrogen, Phosperus and Potassium for the growing plants. Anish started the culture by washing out two big drums, filling them with water, mixing in some sugar cane molasses and then added the starter.
One of six new cupboards going into the hostel.
Indro was there to make sure Parwat didn't make any mistakes.
Inside one of the rooms of the Small Boys Hostel.
Aunty Elsie and Aunty Violet with the Small Boys Hostel boys.
New beds and another cupboard.

We also want to just quickly mention that our Staff Accommodation construction is coming along well. We have now completed the plinth and columns of the building, soil has been filled in to raise the floor level and we are making plans to start framing up for the first floor in the next few weeks. Everything is going great with the project, praise God!

The final columns of the ground floor being constructed.
It is finally starting to look like a building!
A yummy snack cart turned up thanks to some friends in Tasmania.
Kelsey, an ex-volunteer and dear friend of Priscilla's, came and spent a few days with us. We all love you Kels! It was great to have you back home.

Of course there have been so many other things happening this week. Plenty of visitors old and new, minor and major projects, fun, excitement, homework and... well... just too many things to write! Here are a few random pictures that can hopefully help to share a little more of what this week has been like.

Niyati continued loving her Christmas presents.
Left side: Our wheat crop in our farm is growing well.
Right side: Our mustard crop yellow in flower as it nears harvest time.
School holidays meant a little more TV than usual. Here the kids are watching the documentary Planet Earth II in Rick's room.
Twelve of the Small Boys had an all night movie night this week with Clifton, this is the only photo of the night, a 1am snack of chicken fried rice.

Can you believe that has all happened in the last seven days! What a week! Thank you so much to all the amazing people who made it so special, we look forward to reporting back to you next week... who knows, perhaps a herd of elephants will parachute down from the sky, or a chocolate river will burst forth from the Himalayas and flood our campus with sticky sweet life... maybe Rick will work so hard he sprouts a new set of arms that enable him to finish all of the maintenance jobs on the mission! You will have to tune in to find out!

Blessing on you,
Rick, Clifton, Eugene & Priscilla

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Copyright © 2019 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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