Kyle and Kaleisha were quite looking forward to being left home by themselves for three months.
And then we asked them to consider going to India. Here’s their story so far in Kyle’s words:
It all started with mum’s extremely crazy idea that Kaleisha and I should go to India for three months next year while she took the little kids walking for 1,000km (another crazy idea). Now mum is always thinking up crazy ideas and making wild plans so we thought that this was just another one of those unbelievable ideas that in a few days would be forgotten. Ha! We couldn’t have been more wrong! Mum contacted some people who she had known since she was at university and had kept in contact with who were doing missionary work in India, looked into booking flights and even came up with a rough itinerary. This was a serious proposal.
Our initial response was a huge NO! To start with, neither of us had ever wanted to go to India. And we definitely didn’t want to go away for three months by ourselves! We were also worried that we wouldn’t be able to complete a full year of school, and the whole idea was totally out of our comfort zone. Mum quickly came up with a study plan that would allow us to get in a full year’s study around our trip. As for traveling alone, well she asked Grandpa if he would like to go with us and he was all for it and told us that ‘by the time you are 80 three months is just a blink of the eye.’ It seemed that most of our biggest worries had been ‘solved’, but we still weren’t convinced. We weren’t 80 and three months was ages to us, especially away from family and friends!
After about a week of talking to mum, dad, Grandpa and friends, and a whole heap of praying, Kaleisha said that she was happy to go – however she didn’t want to go for three months. And then about a week and a half later I said that I would be happy to go for a month, but no longer. Mum continued to encourage us to think about going for longer so that we could make the most of the opportunity. We slowly but surely gave in and then finally agreed on around two and a half months. Mum doesn’t like us saying “gave in”, but that’s what it felt like. We were reluctant, but we could see that we could learn so much and even though it wasn’t our first choice, it would be a valuable experience for us. Although mum and dad didn’t force us to go, in our hearts we knew it was the right thing to do.
By this time mum had communicated quite a bit with the people in India and had a fair idea of what we could possibly do there if we did go. There were ideas of us working in churches, helping look after some children, working in orphanages and/or schools for disadvantaged children, helping run a children’s program at a conference and doing some tripping around.
Once we said that we would be happy to go, mum reserved seats on a flight that leaves on the 26th of April, 2014. 1 o’clock in the morning!
So the plan is that we will fly up alone and spend the couple of months based in Bangalore staying with the people who mum knows, doing whatever we can to help them. After our time in Bangalore, Grandpa is going to come up and meet us and we will travel around India for a month. We plan on visiting the town where he grew up as a child, dipping our feet in the Ganges, camel riding in the desert and tuktuk riding in the city, and I should celebrate my birthday at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. On the way home we will be stopping in KL for a few days to catch up with our extended family, who live there. We will arrive back in Auckland on the 20th of July.