I want you guys to meet Sultan, one of the boys living in Lakhtokia. I have to admit that when I first came to know him, I thought it was probably too late to change his course in life. He was so rough after fourteen years of living in the slums. Loud, quick to anger, and always with a petrol soaked hankie in his hand. Quickly we realized how much potential was inside this hard exterior. He is silly, protective, hard working and is learning every week how to serve. He keeps us accountable, makes us laugh and most of all loves jumping in to help every week. Having friends like Sultan led us to be comfortable in making a very big change this week.

 One of the goals I have had for a long time is to find a more environmentally friendly way to serve the food. Up until this point we have been using two foil containers for each child, and we all cringe weekly when we picture in our heads all of the waste being created. Last week I was discussing with two visitors the dilemma and we were tossing back and forth solutions when they mentioned leaf plates often used at temples. It was like a light bulb went off! I went out on Saturday to the wholesale market and sure enough found the leaf plates! They are made 100% of leaves, pressed together with bits of stem woven through to create a better hold. Totally natural, totally biodegradable! Also, it cuts the cost of the serving vessels in half!

By deciding to use the plates we also were making the decision to completely change how we give out the food. Instead of arriving with it all pre-packaged, we now were going to have to serve it in the slum itself. I imagined the chaos and then remembered Sultan and took comfort in knowing that he would surely be there to help! We arrived and sure enough, he treated the situation like this is how it has been for the last six months. He jumped right up, grabbed a stack of plates, helped get the kids in line and the serving began. It was definitely the most chaotic it has been in some time but watching him in the midst of all of us, taking joy in literally serving makes up for any hiccup in the process. Another huge advantage of serving this way is that instead of running home with the food, most of the kids sat down and ate it right away with us. After all was said and done, Sultan set aside his own plate, washed down the temple we served from, loaded the equipment in the tuk tuk and called it a day. I almost can't believe that I once worried he was a 'lost cause.' I look at that picture of him over and over and all I see is a type of determination that can only come from living a hard life. Every day is a fight just to survive, but when given the opportunity to thrive kids with determination like Sultan's show that nothing is lost on them....


  1. I LOVE those plates! What a great idea :) And what a cute little helper x

  2. What a little legend he is! I love that you let the kids help out. I can't begin to imagine how much they look forward to your visits every week.

    And a huge high-five on the new plates. No more environmental guilt!

  3. It's awesome to be able to see potential in somebody like that! And great idea with the leaf plates. I wish we had those here.

  4. Only you Kristin, my PICU type A personality who thinks of everything until it is just perfect! You so amazingly bright and thoughtful, proud your doing such wonderful work. I pray like the multiplying of the fish and loaves by Jesus (Mark 8), that your work would "magically" be multiplied beyond your wildest dreams! xxoo

    1. KIM!!! You're encouragement means the world to me, tearing up like crazy <333

  5. Your work is amazing, it touched my heart. M sure God has blessings for you for the miracle you are doing to the people.God must be so happy of you seeing all these works.I would like to help too if you permit. my email id: madhubarwa@yahoo.co.in