I was picked up from the hotel in the morning and taken straight to the current home where they asked me to help finish off posters with them to decorate both the home and the stage for the birthday event the following day. After this, I managed to get my first interview of the trip with a new volunteer called Channan Kaur.
Channan is Swedish but has travelled to India on many occasions and heard about the work of Unique Home whilst staying in London so she decided to pack up and come over for a couple of months to help out. It was a massive relief being able to interview her as others in the home had been quite reluctant (understandably) to appear on camera and I was worried my interview total would stand at zero.
I struck lucky a little later as Unique Home’s oldest daughter Renu dropped into visit and agreed to be interviewed. Renu has led a very sad life as she was an unwanted girl that Bibi took care of when she was just a young girl herself; Renu then left to home to get married but her Husband passed away a few years ago and she is now living with her in-laws and her only daughter. Despite this, she had an amazing sense of humour and a really infectious laugh.
In the afternoon I helped to decorate the home with birthday banners, posters, streamers and balloons ready for the next day. Anju, a woman who works in the home but was also brought to Unique Home as a baby herself, took charge and did an amazing job of directing the girls (and me) to create a sea of colour and glitter.
I went in to see the babies and the youngest baby, Preet was awake so I sat and had a cuddle with her. The older girls told me that she had been placed in the baby cradle with red and yellow string tied around her wrist (which is still there now). Apparently, this was meant to be a sign to the staff that the baby should be raised Hindu. I couldn’t help but find this a bit difficult to get my head around; if you don’t want her then do you really have the right to dictate how she’s raised?
After this it was time to go back to the hotel and get ready for an evening at Haveli, a traditional Punjab restaurant with lots of entertainment that our chaperone Kapil, his wife and daughter had arranged to take us to. It was a great way to end our second day in Jalandhar.