On Sunday, we had visitors from Koraput. CSR invited me to join them at a picnic in Chattikona and I heard him say 17 kids would be coming from ELIM, a hostel for adivasi children in Koraput. I visited briefly in October last year – Koraput is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. Rolling hills, pristine lakes and streams, misty mountains. Some of our kids from Bissamcuttak are staying at ELIM, so the girls took me around their hostel. Neat and tidy, each kid has a little tin trunk of their stuff. It reminds me of MrsK, where there’s not much to be messy with in the first place. The girls have planted marigolds in their courtyard and it’s a forest of green and orange that’s taller than me.
The kids all come from villages around the district and ELIM is their home while they complete school and college. Kishan who works with us here, was one of their star pupils. Usually, their excursions are to scenic spots in Koraput, which are in plenty. But this time they decide to travel to another district – and we are next door. So Chatikona it is! As Devender, their teacher put it: We got three birds in one shot – saw a new district, travelled by train and visited the hospital, Chatikona etc. Our ‘cooking party’ reached the waterfall by 730am, and the school bus set off to Rayagada to pick up the kids from the railway station. It was at this point, with discussions about the school BUS that the penny finally dropped and I realised it was 70 kids not 17!! Still, in a place like this, what’s a few here and there. Seventeen or seventy, we’ll manage. They all wandered around CHB, played in the waterfall, had a scrumptious lunch (rice, chicken and the famous Odiya khatta with tomatos and dates) and danced to their hearts content. A great time was had by all!
Ps. If you’d like to support ELIM, do write in. Now is a good time to help out!