THE STORY OF NARAYAN SEVA CHILDREN’S HOME
By Miira& Stina
My name is Miira, I am currently 26 years old. I have lived at the Narayan Seva Children’s Home since 2007. Narayan Seva was founded in 2004, pioneered by Didi A. Mohatita and Didi A. Samarpita. I would like to tell about why I came to Narayan Seva.
My house is located in a remote area in the village of Antaban. I live there with my small family, leading a very simple life. My house is located quite far from the center of the village, so I have to travel 5 kilometers by foot to reach it. In order to get to school, I would walk that same far distance everyday with some of my childhood friends. Every morning I would wake up at 4:30AM, starting out the day by cooking fried rice with only oil and salt. There isn’t enough time in the morning to take a shower, so I wash my face and immediately put on my school uniform, leaving with my lunch in hand, the fried rice neatly wrapped and pegged with Balinese leaves known as “Nekor” to use as my container. I usually leave home at 5:30 in the dark without even a flashlight, and if there are other earlier school activities scheduled, I leave at 5 instead. For about 700 meters, I walk alone, but after, I’m greeted by two friends. Sometimes we walk together, and other times they’ve already left. We usually arrive at school at 6:45AM, though sometimes we run late. During the rainy season, we would often skip school because the rain would be too heavy, and I would come home with my books drenched and clothes dripping wet that I had to dry by the fire in the kitchen. My parents were usually nervous about letting me go to school during the rainy season, especially because I had to cross two rivers with strong currents to get to school. One day during the rainy season, I decided to go to school with my friends because it hadn’t been raining in the morning. When I was at school and even around the time I was about to leave to come home, it was raining heavily. I waited for the rain to die down before heading home. On the way home, I saw the large river had overflowed. My two friends and I were trying to find a shortcut to avoid crossing that scary river, and came upon a smaller river. While they were able to cross the bridge over the smaller river, as I made my way across it I heard craaaaack! Down I went, falling into the river, the current taking me downstream. My bag, my umbrella - they were gone, swept away by the river. At that time, I had surrendered to God. Thankfully, a kind man happened to pass by and helped pull me out of the river - I was saved. I wasn’t able to return home because the main bridge I would cross to get home had been swept away by the strong current of the river. I waited until the evening, and my uncle came to pick me up, making his way through the river that was still very difficult to wade through, even though the water had subsided. I stayed over at my uncle’s place that night because I wasn’t able to cross the river yet. I saw my mother across the river, and even though she wasn’t able to cross, she allowed me to stay over at my uncle’s place. The next morning, I was finally able to return home but I couldn’t go to school because my uniform was soaking wet, my bag was gone, and I had small wounds on several parts of my body. After being absent from school for two days, I finally returned to school.
Because of my desire to get an education, I came to live here at Narayan Seva when I was 10 years old and many of the children have similar situations. Their family is poor, they don't have enough money to pay for school fees and needs and the house is also very far inland. When I first came here there were two small buildings surrounded by bushes. There were 20 children at the time. Everything was still very difficult then, we slept only on the carpet in every room of the five of us, sometimes even more. To be able to eat we usually have to look for vegetables that are around, bathe in the river near the house and all are completely limited. To have books, Didi sewed used paper which had already printed one side into one book so that we could use it for study.
Didi told that in 2004, the house had no furniture, only one carpet to sleep on, one kerosene stove, and one frying pan, with few plastic plates and glasses, and 2 cooking spoons. From year to year the number of children increased so that Didi thought we had to have a bigger place than at that time, so Didi kept trying until one day the land where we lived was delegated as usufructuary rights as long as the orphanage was established by Wayah (land owner Pak sudarshan (pak made Swita) a senior margii .He was a businessman and a rich person economically and spiritually) so didi dared to submit proposals everywhere looking for help. In the end, people believed in Didi and many good people helped us. Gradually we were able to build places of worship, bathrooms, kitchens, children's rooms, which of course went through a long process.
Since 19 years around 200 children have passed through Narayan Seva. Currently there are 6 staff, and 85 children from toddlers to college-age. And the children come from all walks of life in the Bali area, there are orphans and underprivileged children. The children here are all vegetarians, taught yoga, meditation, learn English and learn to live independently. Narayan Seva not only provides education but also a healthy condition of living, nutritious food, and spiritual and moral guidance.
There are many provisions and life lessons that I got in this place which are so many benefits that I feel at this time. Learning English which is an important living capital at this time, learning yoga which of course also really helps me to become a yoga teacher and help the surrounding community, and there are many skills that I can develop in this place. I feel so grateful for the life that I have now, I have never felt unlucky because I live in an orphanage. On the contrary I feel so lucky to have a family this big. I could never be like this if I'm not here. I feel that Didi is so sincere in educating our children that many of my friends have succeeded in becoming useful people for others. My prayer is that I can become a great person like Didi. They are figures that I greatly admire and are proud of. Hopefully this house will always be a happy home.
Two years ago I completed my Master’s degree in Science Education with a master of education degree. I am currently working here with Didi, as manager, of course I am very ready here because this is my big family and I can be like this place. I feel like I can't leave here, besides that I am also currently teaching at a school in Singaraja city. I want to say that money or wealth will not always bring you success, but will and effort are the main capital to make who we are.
*** Miira is the best kid since she came here and has been the only one who gets voted all the time for the best girls out of all kids. She has got 1 st in the class in every grade. She also got many prizes and was a top 10 student at the university. She has got a scholarship from university to go for exchange in Thailand. She is very good at teaching Yoga. She is multi talented and ready to serve everyone.
Messages from Stina Andersson our volunteer from Sweden.
***Stina came for the first time alone in 2010 and back here again on Feb 28, 2023 with her son.
I am back here again at Narayan Seva after 13 years. I always carried the wish to come back one day when time was ready. Now I am here together with my son who just turned six years old. It is challenging and at the same time wonderful to have this experience together with him. Thank you Narayan Seva for making space here for the two of us. He was a bit shy and nervous at first, and didnt speak more than a few sentences of English. But everyone here has welcomed us as family. Now after almost two weeks my son is running around playing, joking, climbing trees, enjoying the fact that he is allowed to eat with his hand and making so many friends and beautiful memory’s.
Last time I was here I think it was about 45 children. Now there are about 85, and the place has grown so much. Still tough, it’s the same feeling of it being just a beautiful family. I am amazed about the feeling that it’s just another big family, and not the feeling that 85 children is such a big number. Of course I hope that my son's time here can contribute to something. Like all our playtime, presence, chats, making friends, practice in English, exchange cultural knowledge… But at the moment I feel mostly that I am so grateful for everything this family gives to me, and that this month that we will spend here will give us something very valuable. The social environment and the society that I come from is so different. I see how the children here interact with each other, how they solve their problems, take care of each other and their home, how everybody takes part in something. It is wonderful to see. And Didi’s. This is all they’re doing. They give all these children a safe and loving place to grow. I wish to take them with me a little bit if they’re strong faith. And I promise (like Didi says) I will do my best to be a joyful person in this world.
We still have about two weeks to stay here, and that’s good. Because I don’t know how we will be able to say goodbye to all these wonderful people. I have to keep it in my heart again, a promise to come back again.
Stina with Cetan in 2010
Stina with her son in 2023