1 I've been very fortunate to visit Deenabandhu since 2006. Every year since 2008, I've taken portraits of the children. This is Deepeka in early 2008.
2 Here she is today.
3 Here I am with some of the children. We took a mini trip to a park nearby Deenabandhu.
4 It meant a great deal to me to take Dan to this place that's impacted my life so much.
5 This is Dan with Manjula, a vibrant girl who arrived at Deenabandhu last October. Before, Manjula spent about 2 years in an orphanage in Bangalore.
6 The view of Chamarajanagar from atop a nearby hill. As you can see, the land is very arid this time of year. The monsoon, which is soon to arrive, will replenish the earth.
7 There are some fabulous banyan trees near Deenabandhu that the children love swinging from. Dan helped Manjula take a ride.
8 And he took one for himself!
9 It's a freeing feeling to swing from these enormous trees. Just be sure to take a strong enough hanging root!
10 The boys are fearless climbers! As you can see, banyan trees are majestic species. These immense fig trees begin their lives as epiphytes whose seeds germinate in the cracks and crevices of a host tree.
11 In November of 2010, YGB decided to sponsor 4 year-old girl Gayathri. Here's a photo of Gayathri then and now. I'm so happy to announce that YGB is now sponsoring 17 children at Deebanbandhu.
12 This is Aswini.
13 I'm glad Deenabandhu has been able to use the portraits for their child sponsorship program. Currently, most of the 80+ children have sponsors.
14 Vani, sporting a really cute hairdo!
15 This building complex is the Deenabandhu Green Home for Girls, which was completed in February of 2010 (thanks to support from Alstom, ASTI [American Service to India]). Currently home to 32 girls, the Green Home has solar water heating and electricity, as well as rain water harvesting wells.
16 The dining room of the girls home - The girls were really excited to receive drawing books, markers, and crayons that Dan brought.
17 Parvathi was very happy with her new art supplies!
18 Priyanka, whom my Aunt Martha sponsors, loved the chocolate cream candies we found in town.
19 Martha kindly began sponsoring Priyanka in 2008. She arrived at Deenabandhu a few years before as a 2 year-old.
20 Viji, who is newer to Deenabandhu, was a fan of the cricket balls we brought.
21 Inside the girls' home
22 I'm in the process of making a podcast about Deenabandhu. Here I am showing the girls how the flash recorder works.
23 This is the boys' home dining hall. In 2008, I stayed at Deenabandhu for a month and taught yoga regularly. Since then, I sneak in a yoga class when possible. The kids are always eager to learn more!
24 This very sweet boy is named Sivananda.
25 Laundry is done by hand outdoors on these classic washing stones. It's good, meditative work.
26 One of my favorite things to drink in India is the water of green coconuts. There are a few trees at Deenabandhu. Some of the older boys can climb right up the tree to get the fruit!
27 This adorable 5 year-old boy is Mahesh.
28 Lokesh was excited to have his portrait taken. It's a fun process as I often have the older kids be my photo assistants.
29 Shantu striking a pose
30 I've been watching Cheitan grow up since 2006. He's a charming kid and quite the young comedian.
31 The kids being kids
32 The children love the Deenabandhu playground, which was build 1-1/2 years ago.
33 Priyanka in pursuit of a beautiful bougainvillea flower
34 I decided to try out the monkey bars at the Chamarajanagar park playground.
35 The kids love the spiral slide there.
36 Deenabandhu's resident cat recently gave birth to 2 adorable kittens. Here's Dan holding one.
37 Dan and I bought some balloons and other small gifts for the boys. Here he is assembling a little package for each kid.
38 Dan wrapped each gift neatly in newspaper.
39 This is Maike and Cecile, 19 year-old volunteers from Germany, with a few of the kids. Maike, on the left, is mixing dough for a traditional German sweet bread which is cooked on a stick over an open fire (typically on special occasions like Easter).
40 To cook over the open fire, one also needs a stick to put the dough on. The kids gathered a bunch of bamboo sticks for the special culinary event. Here is Abishok posing with his baking skewer.
41 The dough is then wrapped on the end of the stick.
42 And cooked on the open fire. It was a beautiful night! Full moon and cool. The gentleman in white on the left side of the photograph is Mr. G.S. Jayadev, who founded Deenabandhu back in 1992.
43 These are 3 of the older girls walking to the dining hall.
44 Deenabandhu also operates a school for about 260 lower income children in the Chamarajanagar district. The teachers had just returned back, from summer break. I interviewed Ms. Parvathi, whom I've known for about 5 years, for the upcoming podcast on Deenabandhu.
45 Something very important for me was seeing Megha, the very talented young lady whom I've sponsored since 2008. Megha, who is now 18 and just completed her pre-college, is an exceptional dancer and student. She's seriously considering a career in journalism.
46 Dan getting a lesson in a little electronic game
47 Here's Dan again with Manjula, eating ice cream in Mysore.
49 One day, we took a drive to the nearby BR Hills, where Jayadev has a coffee and pepper plantation. He's done a lot over the past 20 years to push for the preservation of this incredibly ecologically diverse hill region in between the Eastern and Western Ghats. Here I am conducting an audio interview about BR Hills and the tribal people who've lived there for thousands of years.
50 There are also quite a few pomelo trees on Jayadev's BR Hill's farm. Dan decided to climb a tree and pick some. They were delicious!