What's it all about?

40 nights for the orphans of India. My 'Lent in a Tent' is about raising hugely needed funds for 'Shining Faces in India' orphanage in Salem, Tamil Nadhu, by sleeping ouside the Chaplaincy at King's Bruton for 40 nights. My target is at least £10,000 - which amazingly is only enough to feed the hundreds of children there for about two months.

I hope that many might be inspired to trade 40 pounds for my 40 nights. Actually, in the back of my mind I'm convinced that we could smash through the target and go much much further ... I wonder.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Bees, caffeine and the need to return ... night 39/40

'Plants lace nectar with drugs to make bees return'

So runs the headline of snippet number one of 'Ten things we didn't know last week' on the BBC News website today. Incredibly it seems that plants have evolved the ability to spike their nectar with drugs like caffeine and nicotine to make them mildly addictive to bees. What it does is create a 'need to return' ... so raises the chance of pollination.

It seems the drugs also increase the bees' memory of the scent ...they even stick out their tongues in anticipation! A need to return.

There must be something that the orphanage produces, too, if the need to return in so many of our team members is anything to go by ... and in me. I've spend wondering-time in my tent on this one. What is it that draws us back so powerfully? I've been to many places in the world, but none other has done this.

I think part of it is sheer scale. There's something quite literally monumental in what Jayaraj is doing, and it's remarkable to be a part of it ... like being part of a great occasion of some kind. But the monumental scale is juxtaposed by the tiny breakable lives of the children living in and on it ...

Then there's something more in the earthy essence of their life, a simplicity that I wrote about in an earlier post ... the inter-wovenness of humanity, nature and elements. I light a fire from time to time ... but I don't live by fire. Not so there. Fire is part of life ... burning rubbish ... giving warmth ... cleansing and purifying fire ...

But scale and simplicity don't give the whole of the answer. There's something, too, about serenity. It's hard to explain, but there's a quietness of spirit and contentedness of heart that's powerfully appealing and so very different to the restlessness and acquisitiveness of our western lives ...

It's a positive quality far from the passivity of defeatism that might be expected in the face of the harsh realities that make up their lives ... and it's a quality I'd love to have more of in myself.

For those plants and bees earlier, the researchers say it's a matter of getting the dose right; leak just the right amount into the nectar to lure them in, but not too much so that the bitter taste puts them off.

I'm not sure the same applies for the orphanage. Scale, simplicity and serenity combine with such potent effect I kind of expect the draw only ever to grow.

So now it's my penultimate night and feelings are mixed. As always, if you'd like to boost our amazing total for making a difference, then please ...


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