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TRIVANDRUM — Yesterday was one of the longest and busiest days we've experienced so far in Kerala. Our first program started about 9 a.m., and we continued working until midnight. We also traveled back to Trivandrum, where we first landed three weeks ago. We have about two weeks left, including our upcoming presentation at the Rotary district conference, so we'll remain here until the end of the trip.

One of my favorite programs yesterday was our stop at a school for special needs children. Some were Autistic, others had Down Syndrome, and others had various mental illness.

As we approached the building, they ran up to the windows and watched as we approached the door. All I could see was smiling faces.

I sat on the floor and played with the children, many of whom were kissing my face and hugging me as I showed them how to take pictures and video on an iPad. 

Communication was limited, so a few of the girls and one of the boys stood up to sing for us.

As I learned a couple of days ago with those diagnosed with Leprosy in India, people diagnosed with mental illness are required by law to spend their lives institutionalized.

Visitors are infrequent, since the children are somewhat considered castaways of society.

I was thrilled to see that those working in the schools (we visited two special needs schools yesterday) seemed genuinely passionate about teaching the children.

Of all the places we've visited, leaving that school was difficult because I know how special it was for the children to entertain visitors.

I hope I can somehow make it back for a visit one day.

Until tomorrow, Victoria

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