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Group travels to India, teaches orphaned girls to surf

 Surf campers, India : photo Dale Carter




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Traveling surfers take girls from Home of Hope orphanage into the surf

Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 3 May, 2010 : - - Arriving at Home of Hope orphanage after an eighteen-hour flight, the girls were waiting for us.  The sun yet to rise, they peered through windows to take in three unshaven surfers carrying surfboards and bags filled with gifts and needed supplies. 
 
After a short nap, we emerged from our rooms to an amazing site: a hallway full of girls hiding behind one another, giggling.  I’d say it took ten, maybe twenty-seconds for them to warm up to us and start chattering away in Hindi.  From then on it was a goof-ball fest: we played games, sang and danced, shoot hoops, and I let them borrow my digital camera (800 shots gone like that). 


All this in 90° equatorial heat that would melt titanium.  No matter, all were in good spirits and talk of the upcoming surf safari was uppermost on our minds.
 
These girls came from tragic circumstances, forced into begging and prostitution, their childhoods lost.  In fact, Sriya, a four year-old girl that joined us on the trip, had been left abandoned on a busy street corner just four months before.  Now, though, to the surf trip itself and the healing powers of surfing…  



 



Stoked camper : photo Dale Carter


 


 
When we arrived at Varkala Beach --- a beautiful cliff-top town overlooking the Indian Ocean --- the girls were at first tentative about dipping a toe in the water, let alone surfing.  Once we got them out in the water riding waves, though, they charged it.  Nothing would deter them.  These girls are tough, resilient, and they took some really nasty wipeouts, laughing each time they came to the surface. 


After a bit, they got the hang of it and rode wave after wave with abandon.  All the while the others played in the shallow water waiting their turn, clapping and cheering their friends on.   It was contagious.  For four days, we were one big family sharing the gift of surfing.
 
It’s hard to convey the profound impact this experience had on all concerned.  Timid girls came out of their shells, those at first reluctant to surf ended up riding waves for thirty-yards, their arms lifted in triumph, the sisters hugging each one as they came to shore.  And that little girl found alone and in a state of bewilderment on the street corner? 


That girl turned out to be one of the best surfers in the group.  In fact, if the sun didn’t eventually set she never would have gotten out of the water. 
 
On our return home to the orphanage that little girl, and all the others, were singing and dancing in the aisles of the bus.  The three of us surfers sat back in our seats taking in the scene, witnessing firsthand the healing power of surfing.  


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Dale Carter

Humanitarian - Surfersvillage

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