Something Special about HOINA

Journal Prompt 5: Write about something special that inspired you while at HOINA

HOINA has been an experience unlike any other I have ever had in my 43 years of life. After arriving I learned I was the oldest student to take Professor Fyfe’s service learning course. During our time here I enjoyed telling the children and staff than I was not faculty from York College, but a student myself. Anand, the manager of HOINA, came and spoke to privately and encouraged me to make sure the children and staff knew I was a student myself. He said they would be inspired that I went back to school as an adult. I got a laugh out of everyone’s faces when I told them my age and that I am a senior in college, graduating in the spring. They really found it funny when I told them I am older than my professor, David Anna. (Anna is uncle)

Brother Ananda and all the sisters

Brother Anand and all the sisters

One particular HOINA student sticks out in my mind. His name is Richard and he and I became good friends. My major in college is Professional Writing or in India, Journalism. My minors are Religious Studies and Photography. Richard has a serious interest in photography also and I was happy to allow him use of my camera. During crafts I was so busy assisting the children that I was grateful to Richard for photographing craft time.

Sister Kari and I during craft time

Sister Kari and I during craft time

Sarayna helping with crafts

Sarayna helping with crafts

Me working the pliers during craft time.

Me working the pliers during craft time.


Richard, the best English speaking student at HOINA, translates and takes photos.

Richard, the best English speaking student at HOINA, translates and takes photos.


I understand that in India it would be difficult for someone who has passed the age of what is considered to be a student to return to study later in life. I feel blessed that I have had the opportunity to do so and began a new career. If I have learned nothing else in life, I have learned you are never too old to take in new information and grow from it. This experience at HOINA had done that in my life. The children and Christian values being taught to them have inspired me. While here I did an impromptu fundraiser by posting to my writing website and my Facebook page, requesting donations for kitchen supplies. The response was overwhelming with so little planning or promotion.

Lots of kitchen supplies for the hard working staff.

Lots of kitchen supplies for the hard working staff.


The readers I have back in the United States donated over $300 American dollars to HOINA.  I found this amazing as many of the people who responded I didn’t know on a personal level, yet they were inspired by my writing and pictures while in India and spending time at HOINA. During my stay I also learned the boy’s cricket bat had broken and they were playing with just one bat rather than the usual two. I also learned the soy milk machine that made the children their daily serving of calcium was broken, the boiler no longer building pressure to sterilize the contents making it safe to drink. The American funds generously donated bought knives, vegetable peelers, a sharpening stone, and a small pressure cooker, cutting boards, kitchen shearers, forks, and spoons and serving spoons. They also covered the purchase of a cricket bat for the boys and to the girl’s surprise, one for them also! Both the boys and girls also received two cricket balls and they were overjoyed.

A cricket bat and balls for each home!

The cricket bats and balls for each home!

The broken boiler for the "soy cow"

The broken boiler for the “soy cow”

After several chats with Papa Large, I have learned the old boiler was not repairable and the debate is to replace the broken one or purchase an electric, stainless steel boiler. Either way, only $70 of the money raised has been used so the remaining funds will be used towards the boiler for the “soy cow.” Helping raise the money for these simple items, ones we take for granted in America, or consider an item for passing the time outdoors for fun, are ones that make life at HOINA better and healthier. I feel moved to continue writing about HOINA and raising funds for items needed at the home. Where there is a need, God will provide, and six months ago, I signed up for this course not knowing there would be a long term purpose from traveling here. That purpose has been realized and I feel God has moved me to continue spreading the word about HOINA and helping them with receiving the funds needed to continue the amazing work for orphans and teaching the word of our Lord.

Praise God, for he is Good!


Go ahead...take a swing. I'll duck and listen.

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