The Hampi Kids

Meet... the lovely and lively Hampi Kids!

Meet... the lovely and lively Hampi Kids!

The Russian boy (that's how he introduced himself :) )

The Russian boy (that's how he introduced himself :) )

Beautiful Hampi girl

Beautiful Hampi girl

Pooja, the cook's daughter

Pooja, the cook's daughter

One of the cutest and most dignified thing I've seen

One of the cutest and most dignified thing I've seen

(she is the daughter of a woman working at the Trust)

She helped us with the dishwashing a lot

She helped us with the dishwashing a lot

The two little neighbours who came to visit at night

The two little neighbours who came to visit at night

Yoga class time

Yoga class time

Streeeetch

Streeeetch

Savasana

Savasana

Oooom

Oooom

All meditating

All meditating

Quite serious

Quite serious

Running back to the Trust!

Running back to the Trust!

Cooking lunch

Cooking lunch

Pretty anklets at lunchtime

Pretty anklets at lunchtime

Lunchtime!

Lunchtime!

Mala, Kali's wife and Puru

Mala, Kali's wife and Puru

Anjali rocking Puru to sleep (quite forceful but it works!)

Anjali rocking Puru to sleep (quite forceful but it works!)

Chida, the teacher

Chida, the teacher

Singing class time

Singing class time

Let's try the trumpet!

Let's try the trumpet!

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

That's a lot of fingers

That's a lot of fingers

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

Trumpet workshop

A guitar is fun as well

A guitar is fun as well

Practicing twinkle twinkle little star

Practicing twinkle twinkle little star

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Guitar workshop

Last pic, it's time to go!

Last pic, it's time to go!

Meet... the lovely and lively Hampi Kids!The Russian boy (that's how he introduced himself :) )Beautiful Hampi girlPooja, the cook's daughter(she is the daughter of a woman working at the Trust)She helped us with the dishwashing a lotThe two little neighbours who came to visit at nightYoga class timeStreeeetchSavasanaOooomAll meditatingQuite seriousRunning back to the Trust!Cooking lunchPretty anklets at lunchtimeLunchtime!Mala, Kali's wife and PuruAnjali rocking Puru to sleep (quite forceful but it works!)Chida, the teacherSinging class timeLet's try the trumpet!Trumpet workshopTrumpet workshopTrumpet workshopTrumpet workshopTrumpet workshopTrumpet workshopThat's a lot of fingersTrumpet workshopTrumpet workshopA guitar is fun as wellPracticing twinkle twinkle little starGuitar workshopGuitar workshopGuitar workshopGuitar workshopGuitar workshopLast pic, it's time to go!

The Hampi kids
(en français plus bas!)

They are thirty-eight cheeky, funny, clever and sometimes naughty children from about 4 to 14 years old. They live in Hampi and instead of begging in the streets from the foreigners – Hampi is full of them – they come six days a week to the HTC, Hampi Children Trust. I stayed there for two days before leaving Hampi. Kali, co-founder of the HTC, kindly agreed to let me stay, help and see how such a thing runs for just a few days, although he prefers to see volunteers staying a whole month or more.

At the HTC, the children get three meals a day, and a safe place to hang out, play, do their homework etc. They get ready for school in the morning. Then some of them come back for lunch – they don’t have to, they can also go back to their family, or stay at school depending on their situation. But they do have to be there for the evening meal when attendance is checked again.

The kids are very eager to learn some words or German, French, English or any other language the volunteers may speak. Apart from helping with the homework, apart from accompanying them to the yoga class held by their teacher Chida, apart from helping with cooking and dish-washing and cleaning, apart from playing with them, I showed them my instruments and let them play. It was great fun, for them and for me. Because what to you think happens if you give them such an exotic thing as a trumpet to blow in? You get such bright smiles and glittering eyes that it will melt your heart! Two of the girls were momentarily also sleeping at the HTC, and the first night they asked for the guitar again, and I showed them how to play nursery rhymes they knew, the first one being “Twinkle twinkle little star”. Their concentration, dedication and patience was quite impressive. They tried and tried until they nailed it. It was beautiful to watch, really.

The HTC runs only on donations. About 20 of the kids are sponsored, but Kali explained to me that some people ask to sponsor a child, and get photos and phone calls with them and reports of their progress, but they never give the money that go with it and will cover the food, clothes and school expenditures for a whole year. One girl jokingly told me at first that her name was Helen something, that she was from England and she was 47 – it was the name, age and origin of her sponsor. The Trust really gives them an opportunity to blossom. One girl was such a good student last year that she was ranked first of the district. She got a scholarship and now has “good food and good education” in a boarding school. She has left the Trust, but comes back to spend all her holidays there.

If you want to know more about the HTC, you can go to their website. It’s not really up-to-date unfortunately, because Kali is very busy, the number of children having grown from 16 at the start to nearly 40 now. If you want to help out the Trust, don’t hesitate! If you are not comfortable sending money, you can also send some school pens, notebooks, clothes or anything that might be helpful, they have a wishlist. In my opinion, one thing that was really missing was children books, but maybe it’s not the the culture in India to read books to kids – especially if your primary concern is to feed the kids first? I do think they would have enjoyed it though.

As for me, after a shower of smiles, many tiny hands shaken and many “happy journey!” cheerfully shouted at me, I left the Hampi kids and the Trust truly happy to have seen that such places do exist (Kali wants to open more of them in the next villages) and with a smile as bright as the kids’. I wish I could have stayed longer. Maybe I’ll go back. I gave them some school pens, detergent and… my guitar!

(Myriam is an ex-volunteer who was also at the Trust, for a visit – when I donated my guitar, she kindly help me pay for the new one I was getting for me, thus being part of the donation! I warmly thank her again :) )

Les gosses de Hampi

 Ils sont trente-huit. Trente-huit gamins entre 4 et 14 ans environ. L’oeil espiègle, rieur, et le sourire ravageur, ils sont attachants comme tout. Ils vivent à Hampi, et au lieu de faire la manche aux Occidentaux dont les rues sont pleines, ils viennent six jours par semaine au HTC, le Hampi Children Trust. Kali, l’un des co-fondateurs, a gentiment accepté de me laisser passer deux jours là-bas, même s’il préfère voir les bénévoles rester un mois ou plus.

Au HTC, les enfants reçoivent trois repas par jour. Ils peuvent jouer en paix, faire leurs devoirs etc. Le matin ils se préparent pour l’école. Certains reviennent pour le déjeuner, d’autres rentrent chez eux, d’autres restent à l’école. Mais tous doivent être là pour l’appel et le repas du “soir” vers 17h30.

 Ces gamins sont ravis d’apprendre quelques mots de français, d’allemand, d’anglais (certains parlent un peu anglais, mais leur langue maternelle est le Kannada) ou de toute autre langue parlée par les bénévoles ou les gens de passage. A part les aider dans leurs devoir, aider à la cuisine, à la vaisselle, au nettoyage, à part jouer avec eux, à part les accompagner à la leçon de yoga donnée par Chida, le professeur attaché au HTC, je leur ai bien sûr proposé d’essayer mes instruments. Ces sourires ! Ces rires ! Cet enthousiasme ! Ce fut tout simplement magnifique, ils se sont beaucoup amusés et moi aussi. Deux jeunes passaient aussi leurs nuits au centre, et le soir elle m’ont de nouveau demandé la guitare. Je leur ai montré comment jouer de petites mélodies de comptines qu’elles avaient apprises, comme “Ah vous dirais-je Maman”. Les deux gamines étaient extrêmement appliquées et studieuses. Elles ont essayé, et essayé encore, jusqu’à ce qu’enfin elle parviennent à jouer la mélodie parfaitement. Leur patience et concentration étaient impressionnantes, leur entrain magnifique à observer.

Le centre ne fonctionne qu’avec des dons. Environ 20 gamins sont parrainés, mais Kali m’a expliqué que parfois, les gens demandent à parrainer un enfant, ils reçoivent des photos, des informations sur leurs progrès et leurs résultats scolaires, peuvent les appeler même, mais ils “oublient” de donner l’argent qui permettraient de couvrir la nourriture, les vêtements et les affaires scolaires pendant un an. Une fillette m’a dit en riant qu’elle s’appelait Helen, qu’elle était britannique et qu’elle avait 47 ans. Les détails qu’elle donnait sur sa vie inventée étaient très imaginatifs, ai-je d’abord pensé – c’était les caractéristiques de sa marraine! Le centre permet à certains gamins de s’épanouir au-delà de tous ce que l’on aurait pu espérer pour un. Ainsi, l’an passé, une des enfant était si bonne élève qu’elle a terminé l’année première du district. Elle a reçu une bourse, et étudie maintenant en internat, où elle “bien nourrie et reçoit une bonne éducation”. Elle a donc quitté le centre, mais revient y passer toutes ses vacances.

Si vous voulez en savoir plus sur le HTC, vous pouvez aller faire un tour sur leur site internet. Il n’est malheureusement pas très à jour, Kali étant très occupé car il y a maintenant 38 enfants, pour 16 au départ.  Si vous voulez les aider, n’hésitez pas. Si vous n’aimez pas l’idée d’envoyer de l’argent, vous pouvez tout à fait envoyer des fournitures scolaires, des vêtements ou tout autre items mentionné sur leur la “wishlist”. A mon avis, quelque chose qui manquait vraiment (mais qui n’est pas vital, c’est vrai) et pourrait intéresser les gamins un peu plus à l’anglais, ce sont des livres pour enfants (en anglais). Peut-être que ce n’est pas dans la culture indienne de lire des livres aux enfants, surtout quand la priorité est d’être sûr qu’ils aient quelque chose à manger? Je pense tout de même qu’ils seraient contents avec quelques livres adaptés.

 Quant à moi, après une pluie de sourires et une multitudes de petites mains serrées sur un “Happy Journey” chantant, j’ai quitté Hampi et les gosses du centre ravie d’avoir vu par moi-même une des nombreuses initiatives possibles pour changer les choses (Kali veut ouvrir d’autres centres dans les villages voisins). J’aurai bien voulu rester plus longtemps. En partant, je leur ai laissé des stylos, du savon et… ma guitare!

(Myriam est une ex-bénévole du centre, elle était là en visite. Quand j’ai donné ma guitare, j’en ai achetée une autre pour pouvoir continuer à jouer. Myriam a généreusement participé à l’achat de cette deuxième guitare, contribuant ainsi grandement à la donation! Je la remercie chaudement :) )

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