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.

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Life on the lines ... night 33/40

Life in my tent isn't far from life on the line. If I could hover above it and head 150m south I'd be looking down on the line ... London Paddington to Truro. It's a life-line for West country workers in the city and an artery connecting King's to the wider world.

For the millions of orphans and street kids in India it's one place that becomes home to so many of them ... life on the lines ...

It's not so much home as a network of homes. Homes that come and go ... carriage homes that snake and weave across the country ... public homes that carry the children on journeys through all India.

But it's not the journey they need ... it's the life-line it offers. It's by journeying that they find a place to sleep, people to beg from, and all too often to steal from as well. They don't want to steal, it's just that their abandoned self finds no other way to provide.

So it's on the trains, too, that our lives cross. Our journey to the orphanage involves a 6 hour leg from Chennai by train. And there we see them. They can hop from the bushes as we glide slowly by ...

There are chains on sale in the station ... chains to lock our luggage to our seats so the children can't snatch them away. I sometimes want to chain myself to the seat instead so there's no chance of catching them if they do. Their need for my things has got to be so much greater than my own.

Well as I head into night 33/40 the snow's falling again and the temperature is set to plumb -4 this week. I enjoyed the happy respite, but there's something fitting about heading to the finish with the same shivers I lived with as the journey began.

As I lie here tonight I'll remember the familiar Chennai-to-Salem leg, and when I hear the Paddington-to-Truro 'home' speed comfortably past Bruton I'll think of the children and their life on the lines.

If you'd like to donate to keep children off the lines, please ...

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