Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Hari Om,

The last days at the orphanage were filled with dances, classes, and fun.  There were ending ceremonies in which we got to see what the girls had learned during our stay at the orphanage. After an emotional farewell, all the volunteers left Chinmaya Vijaya on the 29th. We made promises to keep in touch with the girls and to return to Chinmaya Vijaya in the future.

In the coming months, the older girls will be preparing and testing to join schools in Vijayawada. For the girls who are continuing their studies at the orphanage, the volunteers and teachers would like to work more on reading comprehension. By keeping in touch with Chinmaya Vijaya, the volunteers hope to contribute more supplies, solutions, and gifts to the girls.

We would like to thank all the people who made this trip possible and all the volunteers!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hari Om!

Hari Om,

As part of the full Chinmaya Mission experience, we were given the opportunity to teach Balavihar on Sunday. After stories and bhajans, we went out to play games for the rest of the day. Sunday is usually the girls' day to relax and play, so we did just that.

Yesterday we continued classes in the afternoon. Again, we focused on English and math. This time we started experimenting with our new phonics kit (which includes audio tapes, books, and flashcards) to help the girls learn English. The catchy music in each audio tape made the phonics clear and simple. We plan to continue using the phonics kit for each grade.

A retired English professor from Guntur arrived today to teach the third and fourth grade students grammar. While the guest was teaching, the volunteers went to the NRI Hospital.

Yesterday morning, the volunteers went to one of th NRI Medical Camps. The Camps are units set up in the rural parts of India to give medical attention to those who can not get to a hospital or doctor. They are not at all similar to medical units in the United States, but they are extremely important to the villagers. We also found out that through the NRI Medical Camps, CORD was able to bring all these orphaned girls to a safe home.
Today, the volunteers had the opportunity to watch a general surgery. Poorviamma went as well, intrigued by surgery.

To take some time off, last night we went into the city of Vijayawada. While there Sumathiji took us out for an exquisite dinner at the Quality Hotel. After dinner we came across some stalls selling handicrafts. There were thread jewelry, small glass sculptures and portrait painting. We purchased as many souvenirs as we could and headed back to CORD after a long day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Happy Christmas!

Hari Om,

Yesterday we journeyed to the Mangalagiri temple. Leaving early in the morning at seven, we left the girls to their regular class schedule for the temple. After returning, some of the volunteers went to study in the NRI College while others went back to the orphanage to take rest and plan for the rest of the day. At the college, the volunteers attended lectures and visited the causalities ward.

 The afternoon consisted of hectic classes and games. Because the evaluations were finished, we began teaching and speeding up math and English. Again, the girls are extremely intelligent, which made teaching exciting and easy. We played games outside, like Red Rover and Kabbadi, after the girls ran laps around the orphanage's field. They are extremely fit, but they play all their sports in sandals. Today we gifted them with socks, but shoes would be more effective for sports.

For Christmas, the girls slept in until six and received presents after breakfast. A local volunteer came dressed up as Santa and handed out the presents to each girl. After presents were dances. The girls performed amazing dances to recent Bollywood songs. For some more fun, the volunteers performed for the girls before their movie.

Christmas day came to a close with the distribution of the care packages that the volunteers brought. Each volunteer put a post card with their address in the care packages (along with other small gifts) so that the girls would be able to write back to us after we left.

Overall, the day was fun and the girls had a great time!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

We're here!

Hari Om!

We finally arrived after a very long and tiring journey. On the 20th, we took a bus from Hyderabad to the orphanage, a six hour journey. We arrived early the next morning and were welcomed by all of the girls. After taking a tour, we sat down to see what the girls had learned before our arrival. They performed dances and sang songs for us. Fighting jet lag, we played with the girls for the rest of the day and finished early at eight.

Yesterday, we started our classes in the morning. While focusing on math and English, we decided to evaluate the students to see where to start from. The girls are very open and incredibly intelligent, which made our evaluations easy.Today we finished up evaluating the children and began teaching. With help from the local teachers, we are covering a lot of material.  It doesn't take long to feel at home here in Chinmaya Vijaya.

In math we are starting with addition and subtraction for the younger students and for the older students we are moving into more advanced math, such as long division. In English, our main goal is comprehension. Many of the girls know their alphabet and how to read, but they do not know what to retain. We are making it our job to fill in that gap.

In the afternoons, we are working and learning at the NRI Hospital and College. Yesterday, we were welcomed with a tour of the NRI campus. We were not able to go today because of local political disturbances. (To see more about the NRI Hospital and College visit: http://www.nrias.com/)

The girls here are a big family. They have taken to calling us 'Akka' and 'Annaya' or older sister and older brother. Poorviamma, the resident Brahmacharini, and other volunteers, are helping us understand the family. The older girls help the younger girls get ready, eat food, do homework and even tell bed time stories. We have quickly become part of the family here, and it is going to be hard to leave!

Friday, December 10, 2010


Hari Om,

Our goals for the upcoming trip are to educate, as much as we can, the girls in the Chinmaya Vijaya orphanage about Math and English. The girls at the orphanage range from Kindergarten to fourth grade.  We are planning to have after school including arts and crafts, music, sports, dance etc. Again, there will be more information once we get to the orphanage. Everyone is extremely excited to go on this trip!

To get more information on the Chinmaya Vijaya Girls' Orphanage visit:


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Hari Om

Hari Om,

This is the first post for the Chinmaya Vijaya Service blog 2010! So we are getting prepared to work at Chinmaya Vijaya. We are planning to focus on English and Math once we reach, and more posts are coming!