As tempting as it is to create an April’s Fools post full of impossible-to-believe tales of Mission life, our actual week was incredible enough, so we’ll just stick with that.

As we mentioned last week, we hosted a team from National Geographic as they presented one of their photo camps for our kids. Twenty boys and girls had the rare opportunity to learn writing and photography from some world-renowned professionals. While the words and the images they came up with were fantastic, it was the commitment and hard work they brought to the opportunity that made us the most proud.

NatGeo Photo Camp director Kirsten Elstner who led the workshop has been all over the world presenting this unique experience to kids in dozens of countries…and in her words, this was her favorite group of students.

We’ll be putting together a complete and printed book of the work that’s been created this past week, covering stories of Mission life, village portraits and artistic experiments…but for now, here are a few examples of the creativity that was flowing around the farm this past week.

“In many ways we live apart from the other children, but that’s not hard for us because we are like brothers, like one family within the larger family.” Parwat from his story about the hostel boys entitled “Brotherhood.”

Portrait of Ikindar by Parwat Singh

View through Kamal’s Window by Parwat Singh

“When Cynthia arrived at the orphanage, I was 14 years old. But there are many things about Cynthia that remind me of myself.”
From her story “My Orphanage Childhood, Repeated” by Nancy Bhandari

Cynthia at Sunrise, by Nancy Bhandari

Morning in the Nursery, by Nancy Bhandari

“I see him every day, a mysterious man bent back like a mountain and always in his same winter clothes. He is a shadow over the farm, an aged figure I see every day passing by our home.”
From “The Shadow Man” by Annie Singh

“His name is Pahilad, also known as Bubu.”
Photo by Annie Singh

“Pahilad is a very faithful, honest and hardworking man. He worked in the mission for nearly 50 years as a cow herder.”
Photo by Annie Singh

“When I see horses, they are made to carry heavy loads, it tears my heart out. They are often so thin that you can see their ribs.”
From “The Value of Horses” by Pinky Singh

“I decided to go and meet these horses for myself.”
From “The Value of Horses” by Pinky Singh

“I was really surprised to discover that the horses were treated so nicely.”
From “The Value of Horses” by Pinky Singh

Photo’s from Clifford Chand’s powerful piece on village life. With a sensitive subject matter, we’re holding back some of the story here, but will share it all in the book we’re putting together. Great reporting, Clifford.

Photo by Clifford Chand

Photo by Clifford Chand


I am silver and exact.
Whatever I see, the eye swallows immediately, just as it is.
I am not fearful only truthful.
I am the bright light with pink and sparkles.
I have looked into the world for so long.
I think it is a part of my heart.
I draw others in and pull them so close that we touch.
I live in darkness until her face replaces my blank expression.

Excerpt from “Reflection” by Sonia Singh.
All artwork and photographs below attributed to the author

“Mrs. Sumal Mall, a local Banbasa beautition knows that beauty comes from the heart.”
From “Beauty in the Heart” by Anthea Ram

“When Sumal was a small girl, she always wanted to be a beautician; it was her passion.”
From “Beauty in the Heart” by Anthea Ram

“She knows now that inner beauty is all that matters and that appearances aren’t so important.”
From “Beauty in the Heart” by Anthea Ram

Seriously, these beautiful stories could go on and on. With twenty hardworking students in the class, the complete book of both the words and the images they came up with is going to be a masterpiece. Great job, everyone!