Please mark your calendar for This Whitworth Life: A Campus Storytelling event. The 2014 cast includes nine readers who’ll share their stories at 6pm on Friday, Nov. 21, in the chapel.
For a taste of what you’ll hear on the 21st, check out “Namaste” by Kevin Moore (’16):
Have you ever seen what happiness truly is? What absolute joy and contentment look like? I think I have. When I was a junior in high school, I had the opportunity to travel to India on a service trip over our winter break in early February. Oddly enough, I had applied for a summer trip to Africa, but the political situation in our destination at the time forced administration to divert applicants into the India trip. I was sixteen, and I had never been in the service field before. We flew from LAX to Dubai, and from Dubai to Delhi. We spent two days in Delhi—one for sightseeing, one for visiting three local churches and their Sunday services. I was amazed to see their passion for Christ in such a little space—rooms about the size of a Dixon Hall classroom. The next five days, after a day of travel, were spent at the North India New Life Boy’s Home, run by Pastor Varughese. It was there, among the teeming activity of the home, that I learned what joy looked like.
They received us with banners and a common Indian dinner consisting of rice, naan, curried chicken, and the wonderfully familiar liters of Pepsi. We shuffled about, unsure of ourselves, while dark faces and huge grins lugged our suitcases upstairs. We were specifically instructed to leave the baggage to the boys, who viewed it as their sacred duty. After the meal, we divided into rooms and collapsed exhausted into bed while mosquito candles burned, filling the air with a scented smoke that, thankfully, did its job. The week that came after was filled with equal parts work and play. We worked in and around the house, which I was told used to be a smaller scale training facility for the Indian Air Force. We painted, cleaned, organized, and overall did anything that the small staff could come up with. We spent time in devotional time with them, singing hymns in English and listening to the boys chorus together in Hindi. We visited the school they attended and spent time with all the kids there, organizing and playing simple games with large groups of the school’s uniformed students.
This aspect of their lives, the nature of their play, showed me what I believe and use today as a measure of human satisfaction. Back at the home, we played with a soccer ball. That is not to say we played soccer, which did occur enough for me to learn the breadth of the tenacity and energy of these children. But we played something much simpler. We stood in a circle and threw the ball to one another. That was it—the game in its entirety, and yet every boy in the circle was beside himself with joy to be part of that circle, to toss a decrepit ball barely held together by archaic stitches to friends both old and new. No rules, no remotes, no screens, no batteries, no assembly required. We stood together, smiled together, and tossed around an old ball together. We were happy.
Kevin Moore is a junior and an English major on the Writing track. Kevin enjoys sunshine, writing, aquatic activities, and any combination therein.