Some of the older ones spent a lot of the time sitting in the shade, feeling the breeze (a lot less smoggy than in the city), and looking at natural beauty. The others playfully road the rides, chattered and laughed. A lot!
One of the best parts of the day was when Steve and I took one particular lady on a couple of rides. She can't hear or speak but her smile never fails to light up my day. Priceless grin and giggles!
At lunchtime it was wonderful to watch women who have been outcasts of society sit at tables and have several courses served them by men in matching purple shirts. The tables were plastic and the shirts not too flash, but to the ladies, I'm sure, it was a five star experience. Perfect!
Watching some of the new women who are either in training or have started work in the past year was significant, too. They would never have had a day like it in their lives before. And their lives are very different than this time last year overall.
On the bus ride home, I watched Adam and Hannah dance Bollywood-style in the aisle with happy women who didn't want the day to end. Aaron snuggled a sleepy 2 year-old while the mother danced. Rachel was laughing and smiling with friends, and I thought, "What an awesome way for our kids to grow up!"
Later I took the sleeping boy from Aaron because he was soooo soundly asleep that Aaron couldn't resist making the poor kid pretend to punch the air, etc, (!) to demonstrate just how out of it he was. As I held the little guy I remembered his story. His mother is currently in training so is not on full pay yet. It's a process that there are good reasons for that I can explain another time, but he and his mother still live on the street. But not for long! She'll be able to find housing soon when she officially starts work. When she started training he spent his first week in the nursery with a head full of infected sores. Now he's healthy and well fed and was wearing a cute outfit donated by a recent team.
Nice to see change!