The food was brought to the table and served onto the plates. Pranay and Sathwik’s eyes grew large with delight. Nine-year old Pranay breathed deeply the rising steam coming from the spicy, butter chicken on his plate and smiled. “Soooooo good, sister,” he whispered happily.
The Indian restaurant near the Back2Back India Hope Campus was bustling, but everyone around the table bowed their heads and prayed for their meal together. As everyone said “Amen!,” the feast began.
Many of the children returned to their home villages for a small holiday in late September. While the campus was quieter, two of the boys remained with staff. Pranay and Sathwik do not have families to visit, but staff ensure they have fun and make memories.
Back2Back staff Casey Foreman and Dan Belue took the two boys, their caregiver Leela, and two visitors for a special lunch at a nearby restaurant. Steaming bowls of butter chicken, curries, veg noodles, and chicken biryani were brought to the table, along with naan and fresh water. The children laughed and talked with those around them, discussing spice levels of food and asking for second helpings.
Casey looks around the table as food is boxed up for later and smiles. “Ice cream anyone?” “Yes, please!” the boys requested. Small scoops of strawberry, vanilla, and chocolate ice cream arrived moments later. As Pranay took his last bite of ice cream, he leaned back in his seat, patted his belly and smiled. “So full.”
Once back on campus, the boys pulled out their bikes. Pranay had worked hard all week, teaching himself how to ride the two-wheel bike and had finally mastered it. He rang his bike bell as he raced past the front porch of his home and yelled to those watching, “Look, sisters! Look!” Sathwik slowly worked on riding with training wheels and giggled to himself as he got the hang of it.
The sun set and the boys wished everyone a good night. The campus was quiet, and the boys and staff members both readied themselves for bed with smiles as they remembered their day of fun. As Back2Back offers care for today and hope for tomorrow, staff make sure each child knows he is special – no matter their story. The boys can rest easy knowing even if it is not a traditional family, they belong to a family full of love and fun.