Veeni came up to Eibhlin and I and presented each of us with a beautiful gift that he had obviously organised of his own accord, which was incredibly touching. Veeni, you may recall from a recent blog, is an 11-year-old boy and just such a special kid. He is on the waiting list to be a sponsored child and whilst benefiting from community programs and sponsorships has not yet been sponsored himself, until now. He is a beautiful example of the many, many children who families can provide regular support to via a child sponsorship through ChildFund.
Gus took off again on his scooter across the grounds so I followed him away from the main group to find a small concrete area for Gus to practise his scooter moves. I took a moment to look around the school field and just watch the kids. There were girls with their new bikes looking super proud as they rode around. There were kids wearing their new school bags on their backs, some of them barely bigger than their bags.
I took a moment to think about 15 months earlier in Barwon Heads Caravan Park when I had been feeling pretty flat about my life and wanted to do something more. I was tired, anxious and lacking motivation for life and work. I thought about the contribution I wanted to make in this world and I thought about what I would like to do that would be extraordinary and I turned to my wife as we were pushing Gus on a swing and said, “I want to walk across India”.
Fast forward 15 months and here we are. Together with many wonderful friends and family members we have collectively raised well over $50,000 and on our way to my initial secret target of $100,000. We are walking across India as a family and on the way meeting some wonderful people and children and having an experience of a lifetime. I am hoping our journey is also encouraging others to find a way of doing something extraordinary for themselves and inspiring people to make their contribution to this world. It doesn’t have to be a walk across India, it can be anything. Remember, everyone can do something.
As the sky was becoming darker and the day drawing to a close the kids were slowly coming past to say goodbye. There were so many friendly faces and so many parents coming up to say thank you for the support we were providing. We spent time saying our goodbyes and then all fell back in the bus with a quiet sense of euphoria and shared stories of the day.
When we returned home it all became too much for our little man Gus who had a major meltdown. No sleep during the day and a very big day. There was screaming, ‘I don’t like you!’, ‘Don’t look at me’ and one of the biggest meltdowns we have seen from our tired little man. Just so you know that it is not all euphoric experiences over here!
As this was going on Indy had a little meltdown of her own, hers a more happy one. She was so emotional about what she had experienced during the day and it just all caught up with her. She is now of an age where she really gets it, what we are trying to do as a family and for her to witness through her own eyes was incredibly moving for our beautiful Indy. After a little talk, lots of cuddles and a wash she was off next door to play Uno for the beds with Nicola and Eibhlin.
Meanwhile, Little Manny had calmed down enough for me to give him a cuddle and he expressed that he didn’t like it when people were pinching his cheeks. It turned out that once again there was a moment when he was surrounded by people, all wanting to touch his cheeks and he got very scared and overwhelmed. In case we needed it (and we shouldn’t have), Gus was reminding us that he needs to feel safe when we are at these events so we made a promise together that this wouldn’t happen again. He had two cups f tea and went to bed.
Follow the Petrucco family on their Indian adventure via their blog or Facebook.