A COLOURFUL AFTERNOON
It was a whole year since my first happy visit to Behala. My husband Norman, friend Paul, and I had been made so welcome by Arijeet, staff and boys - joining in the Republic Day celebrations. I felt privileged to have another opportunity to visit the Oxford Mission. Many of the boys remembered me as Aunty Caroline. It was so good to be back.
I had asked Arijeet if I could spend time with the 'little boys' (4-6 years). My first glimpse of the St. Nicholas boys was from a distance as they walked in a crocodile through the tropical vegetation on their return from school. I felt a surge of emotion and anticipation in spending time with these cheerful little boys. As I doled out the sweeties and lollipops their polite response was, "Thank you, Aunty" - thirty-one times.
Organising the boys in circles of six, I provided paper, felt pens and crayons. They were so enthusiastic and excited at the prospect of being able to express themselves through their drawings. This spontaneous and unexpected Art session produced brightly-coloured pictures of life in the Oxford Mission and their home villages. Their attention to detail for such small boys was incredible. What talent Behala harbours!
At the end of the afternoon I gave the boys colouring books to keep and use at their leisure. Together we decorated their dormitory by sticking pictures on their bunk beds. I bade the boys farewell as they each sat on their beds, beaming with delight in what now resembled an Art Gallery.