Day Three

   Posted by: Dean White   in India


·         Santvana Orphanage

·         Day Care located in the Red Light District

Purpose: Connect and tell the story of the Lost Sheep to the children of Santvana Orphanage and the children in the Day Care located in the Red Light District. 

Tomorrow: Santvana Orphanage and a very important dinner with Dr. Samson Parekh


  • Santvana Orphanage for HIV kids
  • Dr. Lalita Edwards
  • The Children of Santvana
  • Day Care in the Red Light District

Quote of the day: “Never have I seen children live in such depravity who smile with such abundance.”

Every day is so full that it is difficult to choose only a few things to write about.  I take about 150 photos as well and I want to share all of them and every experience with you.  I am so thankful for your comments!  I know I haven’t responded to them but please know I read each one and welcome them like a refreshing glass of cold water on a hot day.  It tells me people are actually reading my blog and the time I take has been worth it.  So thank you again.  I know your day is also packed and it means tons to me that I get to share my day with you.   

Santvana “House of Refuge” Orphanage

Santvana started about 31/2  years ago by a female doctor who had a heart for children who had the HIV virus and had nowhere to go for good care.  The government wants to begin harsh treatment when kids get HIV and it dramatically shortens their life.  So they either die quickly with government help or they die slower with progressively weakened health.  Dr. Lalita Edwards studied for years alternative care that allows children to live happy, productive lives until the very end.  She founded Santvana with 6 children and now has 22 with 6 more coming in the next month.  The orphanage is funded solely by donations, of which Orphan Outreach provides 70% (Orphan Outreach is the organization that put my trip to India together, your support and my coming to India is helps them support orphanages like Santvana).

Dr. Lalita Edwards

Dr. Edwards is truly amazing.  The children call her Nani, which means grandmother.  The children look at her as if she walked on water and held riches or famine in her hands.  She is the king, a loving mother, a protective father, a wise grandmother and friend to all of them.  When we played a game the winner could not wait to run to her and show her how well he did, in order to gain her approval.  She loves them and they know it.  Her testimony, her faith in God, her willingness to risk it all for the betterment of others was both convicting and inspiring to all of us.  I wonder what it is about India that produces such amazing humanitarians.  Mother Theresa, Gandhi, two more right off the top of my head. We have a dinner meeting with Dr. Samson Parekh tomorrow who has another amazing ministry and we are hoping Orphan Outreach can also partner with him. This meeting is very important so I appreciate your prayers.

The Children of Santvana

Ok … I fell in love with them all.  I know … you knew I would.  They sang and danced for us when we arrived.  They had such joy in their faces you would have thought we were Santa’s helpers bringing gifts.  We told the story of the Lost Sheep from Luke 15 in the Bible. We did a game where we hid a small sheep and the kids had to find it and we also did a craft where the kids were able to make a sheep puppet.  One kid, Robin, found the hidden sheep 5 out of 7 times we played, it was like he had a 6th sense and walked to the hidden spot like he was walking towards a beacon.  We also played other games with them and ate with them.  Their meal always consists of rice with some type of curry sauce poured over it and once a day an egg.  My meal had peas in it since I was a guest.  We ate with our hands as accustomed and there is even a specific technique so that you don’t get your whole had covered.  One little girl, who has to weigh 15 lbs, could out eat us all.  If they let her, she would go back 5 times for 2nds.  Her photo is below.

Many of the children are very ill, though you would not know it from the smiles on their faces.  Often when a HIV child is sick their immune system breaks down so much that even the smallest bite develops harsh scabs on their scalp that look like small calcifications. See photo below. The kids do not touch them but flies constantly land on them much like flies around horse’s eyes.   Children die each year that live at Santvana but at least they live very happy lives and feel great love … and they hear about the saving knowledge of Christ.  One of our team members said it is important that we not look at their life here on Earth but how they will get to spend eternity. Amen.

The little girl I would love to bring home is Pooja.  Her smile won me over instantly.  There are few photos of her below too.  India makes it very hard, almost impossible, to actually adopt children out of the country.  If you are from India and of Indian race then you have a chance but foreigners are not allowed.  India also has a caste system, which signifies your importance in the society.  There are 7 main castes and then many divisions within each caste.  Those in the highest caste (Brahman which is the priest level) get special treatment.  Most people do not regard this on a daily basis but it is still a thread that is woven in this culture. For instance, just 3 weeks ago a father killed his son for marrying a woman who was in a lower caste.  The caste system makes is also hard to adopt since those who could afford adoption would not adopt a child from a lower caste.

Day Care in the Red Light District

I will write more on this in two days.  But let me just say that this is the hardest part of the trip.  Woman and men going to work have a choice, do they take their kids to work with them or do they drop them off at a day care while they work.  Dr. Edwards and a lady named Puni started a day care … I should actually call it a ‘Night Care’ for children who have parents that work in the Red Light District.  Tonight we got to spend time with these wonderful children.  These kids are not as fortune as those at Santvana.  We told the story of the Lost Sheep again and did the same craft too.  And I had the privilege of doing a few magic tricks for them.  Leaving the small flat and walking down stairs out to the streets to wait for our ride to pick us up felt like walking into a cloud of desperation, fear, loneliness, confusion, and hopelessness.  Mixed with 4 times more people than any other area I have yet to see.  It was important for us to walk through there relaxed and confident, as to not show fear or we would have attracted confrontation.  We will be returning to Hell’s den in two days.

Thought of the Day

What takes away sorrow? What brings about a smile? What gives such great hope to the hopeless?  Simply … Love.  These children have nothing.  But they shine, they smile, they are happy.  It is because of the love from one person, Lalita Edwards.  One person does make a difference in the lives of others.  One person who has love and is willing to give their love to others in a selfless, sacrificial way.  


p.s. Tomorrow’s blog will me much lighter emotionally (driving in a rickshaw for instance).

This entry was posted on Monday, October 13th, 2008 at 2:07 pm and is filed under India. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

7 comments so far


What amazing pics Dean and what a wonderful opportunity! We’re praying for you!
Lots of love!

October 13th, 2008 at 4:25 pm

Dean thank you for sharing your trip, I can only imagine the images that will be burned in your heart and mind forever. What a blessing you and your team are. We’ll miss you tomorrow night. Love and prayers.

October 13th, 2008 at 7:21 pm

Thanks for sharing everthing Dean! You are absolutely right…the answer is LOVE. Thanks for keeping us updated. Love you!

October 13th, 2008 at 9:24 pm

Deano…What a great job on the blog – so unformative and the pics are priceless…I can see why you have taken to Pooja – she has a great smile…we arte so blessed to have you in our lives and now we get to share you with your new friends…we miss ya mucho – are praying for you and look forward to presentation upon your return. Love ya baby!

October 14th, 2008 at 9:15 am
The Hambright Family

I love taking the kids to school and enjoying my coffee while I read your blog. It’s emotional, spiritual and eye opening! I am moved! Thank you for taking the time to “detail”. I feel like I’m experiencing it with you! I could only imagine you getting off the plane with a few of those precious children! The trait of “Love” will resonate in my heart
today! We continue to lift you in prayer! On my knees. Debbie

October 14th, 2008 at 10:18 am

Dean, you never cease to amaze me in your love & generosity to others. I’m in awe of you, & I am so grateful to have you as a friend. My prayers are with you, & I’m really enjoying reading your blog on your tremendous journey.

October 14th, 2008 at 10:52 am
Krista Keane

The pictures are just beautiful! I love seeing the children. They seem so content even in their dire circumstances. Wow, couldn’t we all learn something from them?

Be encouraged Dean. You are doing what God has called you to do. His hand is upon you and I pray you will continue to follow His leading.



October 15th, 2008 at 6:59 pm