Banbasa is the name of our local town and around this time each year the Alliance Club of Banbasa hosts its annual town fair (mela). Thousands of people from the community and surrounding villages flock to the center of town to enjoy rides, watch shows, eat food, play games and participate in the famous charity raffle which gives them a chance to win a myriad of prizes (including a new motorbike, washing machine, TVs and more) while helping raise money for those in need.

Crowds beginning to form as the night kicks off.

Thousands gathered to watch the main stage. Thousands gathered to watch the main stage.

Nothing attracts a crowd more than a lady dancing with her head on fire.

The ferris wheel and jumping castle were very popular.

For the first time ever we took advantage of the mela and bused about 50 of our children in for 4 hours of fun. With 200 rupees ($4.00) spending money each, our kids were absolutely beside themselves with joy! While many took rides on the ferris wheel, jumping castle, giant trampoline or merry-go-round others chose to shop. A selection of makeshift stalls filled with toys, jewellery and assorted bits and bobs provided hours of shopping fun.

Our Small Girls checking out the keyring stall.

Choices, choices, choices!

Sakshi looking for that perfect set of earrings.

For others, like Shane and Ikindar, the true pleasures of the mela were best experienced in the food. Fried chicken, dumplings, chowmein, icecream… it was a feast for their stomaches as much as it was for their eyes. 200 rupees can go a long way to fill ones belly at an event like this one. A select few of our children also chose to try their luck with the charity raffle, sadly it didn’t end up paying off for any of them!

Ikindar getting excited for another serving of deep fried chicken.

Rohit going back in for his third ice cream cone of the night!

William and Sunny donated their time to help sell raffle tickets.
They were the first to finish their quota!

The only children of ours who did not have a chance to attend the mela were our nursery kids. With the hustle and bustle of thousands of excited people we just felt it was too much for them. Fortunately Priscilla picked up some snacks and toys for them and was able to bring at least some of the mela fun back home to the mission.