I really enjoyed the Leadership Conference. It was a real joy to meet new friends and colleagues from around the region. But I have to admit that there were times during the sessions — especially those sessions given entirely in Nepali — that I couldn't help thinking, "I'd sure love to be playing with the kids right now."
Over the last couple of days, we've made up for lost time and jumped into the playing, the dancing and the laughing — with gusto. Monday was Republic Day, a celebration of the country's full independence from British rule, which was finally achieved 66 years ago when India's first constitution took effect. We spent a couple of hours in the morning attending a parade at the town's stadium.
Later, we capped a full afternoon and evening of home visits and playing by attending a concert given in our honor by our kids. We gathered in the upper room at one of our houses, and enjoyed a full two hours (maybe more!) of songs, skits and dances, prepared by our kids for our enjoyment.
You would not believe the beauty, the skill, the joy — but you'll have to, because my camera battery died right before the concert, and I had somehow failed to charge my backup. I took some iPhone video, but the room was dimly lit and the footage looks like it was smuggled out of cold war East Berlin, shot with a 70s-era CIA-issue potato-camera. So, about an hour or so into the concert, I committed to not stressing out about the lack of a decent camera, and I just threw myself into enjoying the evening.
After the concert, we ate a delicious dinner prepared by our staff. Our team assumed that we would leave for our hotel shortly after dinner. We had no idea that the staff had prepared a bonfire in the front yard — perfect for the chilly mountain evening — and had set up speakers for a dance party.
And so we danced. From the oldest — Dr. John Campbell — to the youngest — tiny two-year-old Sabina — we all twisted and shouted, boogied and bopped. After more than two hours, with our hearts full and our strength emptied, the moms and dads turned off the music and sent us stumbling back to our hotel.
I regret not having good pictures and video from the evening, but I wonder if I would have had as much fun if I'd been trying to capture it all for posterity. Some moments are best lived only once. Perhaps this was one of them.
Yesterday was more relaxed. We walked around the town and did a little shopping in the morning and then headed out to visit home 2 in the afternoon. We played cricket, carem and badminton and shared tea and prayers with Pastor Sunil, his wife Punam, their wonderful daughters, the staff and kids.
Today will be more of the same. I have a little bit of work work to do — new headshot photos of each of the kids, some strategy discussion with our national director — but I expect to have plenty of time for fun and games with the kids.