Wednesday, January 21, 2015

“The soul is healed by being with children.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Five years ago, in November 2009, one of our friends from the U.S. was visiting us in Mysore and she met Adeline and Shirly from Singapore at a cafe in Gokulam. Adeline and Shirly were in Mysore to practice at a yoga shala, and Marianne proceeded to recruit them to paint some of the bare walls at our children's home -- Adeline is, after all, a fabulous artist! 

Since then, Adeline, Shirly, and Jo-Anne (their friend from Singapore who comes to Mysore to drive rickshaws and practice that other yoga) have been transforming our walls during their visits and, along the way, have captured our kids' hearts.

In November 2009, they started with our first ABC Room -- a little hut we built as a small classroom and spare room.
That's Shirly inside, mixing paint, with Lokesh and Venkatesh filling in Adeline's ABC sketches.
The ABC Room.
Then, the women came again in December 2010 and painted our cat room (the open classroom/activity room where the kids' three cats live) with playful animal figures. Great looking walls, yes?

Adeline sketches, the kids color.
Adeline came in December 2012 and was around for Christmas and Chinese New Year -- she had her themes!

A nice background for taking photos!
Just like the snowmen in Singapore... ;-)

The women arrived in Mysore in December 2014, and the painting started again (yay!). This time, they tackled our new ABC Room -- a more spacious version of the original ABC Room.

During the project, the women learned Hindi and Kannada!

 Many other activities were going on, including super-fun arts and crafts by Jo-Anne,

Five hyperactive happy kids quietly enjoying themselves. 
Raju and the very very long necklace that he made.
Mohan coloring with precision (wish he was this quiet and focused all the time!). 
taking trips with the kids, 

The Adeline "wefie" photo -- Bylakuppe with the kids.
and just hanging out.

Christmas 2012.
The girls bindi-ed Shirly.
The other day, a mutual friend commented, "What should we call them -- the three women from Singapore? They're so great. They need a stage name, you know, like ... 'three sisters'?" 

How about, simply, Hao Peng You. Good friends.

The paintings, and their friendship, brighten our living environment.
Over the years, these three women have touched the lives of our kids in many ways -- through their artwork on the walls, their genuine, kind, thoughtful, practical nature and desire simply to help, and the time they spend with our kids and on their behalf both here and in Singapore. We hope that all kids everywhere get the chance to have great friends like Joanne, Shirly, and Adeline!

"Nothing you do for children is ever wasted."
--Garrison Keillor, Leaving Home

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