Devi introduced herself to three young ladies and one guy traveling on a University holiday from Cape Town, South Africa. They sort of took her under their wing, treating her to ice cream and letting her "hang" with the girls from time to time.
One morning was spent watching the fishermen bring in the catch of the day. It was fascinating to watch as they set the net, waited and then carefully pulled it in to see how their luck panned out.
Devi bargained for anklets from the beach vendors for Treya, me, and herself from this woman. The beggars and venders are pretty steady here, but not annoying. If you say no thank you they leave and won't bother you again. One girl was taught trapeze work and would set up her act up to a dozen times a day up and down the beach.
Palolem beach has one market street which we ventured onto one evening. It is hard to leave the solace of the beach and enter into the constant motion and stimulation. It is, however, colorful and beautiful, motorcycles, cows, spices, aroma of dinners being prepared, auto rickshaws all narrowly missing each other on the same busy street.
Kayaking started one day. Devi was bit reluctant, but relented and later was glad that she did when a river dolphin came within 10 feet of us to say hello. It was fantastic. River dolphin have pink noses and this one had decided to come into the shallow waters of the Arabian sea for a frolic. The picture is of the same guy seen later when we had gone ashore.
The most touching day was our last full day in Goa. Without warning, about 100 kids of all ages, entered our beach. It turns out they are all street kids and/or orphans that are sponsored by Mohan to come for a day at the beach. These kids have had no direction in their lives. Typically they are beggars, but for this one day take the day "off" to just be kids, learn manners, and spend time away from their families, many of whom are addicted to drugs. At one point as we observed these children, I noticed that Pat had tears in his eyes as this sort of brought the reality back to our trip. The real reason we are here. Touched, we made a donation to the head of stepping stones, a Goan woman, born in the UK who has fought to adopt for the past 6 years with no success. After she heard our story, we exchanged emails in the hopes that I might be able to help her some how. She dedicates her time to helping these children and it is amazing to see the way they hang on her. We hear about these children, but honestly our exposure to them has been more than limited. To watch them touch sand, play soccer on the beach, eat cookies and observe the real world around them has burned images in my mind of their faces that I will never be able to shake. Many of them seemed so lost. I wish I could bring armfuls of them home with me. At the end of the day, they sang a song of thanks in English...a language they no little of. Then...they were gone. Off they went to their life, which is so very different than ours. It was incredibly touching.
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