What "Giving" Can Feel Like

On the 21.01.2019, a week before I left for India with the 2019 Equal Health team of volunteers going to West Bengal, one of my clients, James Morris who is 9 years old and his mother, Lorelle, gave me $50 and asked me to buy something special for the children at Anandaniketan – Society for Mental Health Care in Katwa, with whom the volunteers would be working. In a previous therapy session, Lorelle had asked me to tell her and James what I would be doing while I was in India, which I did with enthusiasm.

Well, apparently, when James and Lorelle went home, James asked his mother if they could give me some money because he wanted to give the children at Anandaniketan (AN) something special. Upon receiving the money, I suggested to James and Lorelle that sports equipment would be a wonderful and useful gift for the boys at AN, as they love sports, with cricket being their favourite. James and Lorelle really liked the idea so I promised them that their $50 donation would be spent purchasing sports equipment and I would take photographs and/or a video of the boys receiving their gifts, as well as telling the boys about James and Lorelle.

When I saw James and Lorelle again on the 25.03.2019, after returning from India, I told them that the money they donated was used to purchase a cricket bat (with their names written on it), five cricket balls, a set of wickets and stumps, a volleyball, a volleyball net and a carrom board. I also showed them a video of the boys receiving the sports equipment while their carer, Ashu, explained to them in Bengali that the equipment was a gift from James and Lorelle, as well as a photo of Akshay, nicknamed Ricky Ponting by Equal Health volunteers, because of his skill for and love of cricket, and another photo of a group of boys playing carrom.

For James and Lorelle, it was very moving for them to be able to see how their donation was used and how much the boys appreciated the equipment. It was moving for me too, because I saw in James' face what a strong impression his "act of kindness" was having on him.

On the 08.04.2019, when James and Lorelle came back for another therapy session, James gave me this letter expressing how he felt about the experience of donating to the boys at AN and a drawing showing one of the boys at AN playing cricket.

Written by Gillian Hurley

Occupational Therapist and Team Leader of the 2019 Equal Health West Bengal Team

March 2019