The children of India got to Michelle Haselden. The 23-year-old has just returned from two weeks in India, and back into working at Global Veterinary Services in Gordonton.
“They were all giggles and joy. They’d touch my skin, because I was very white.”
She was there with her church, with a group of 14 others, staying in Orissa, on the east coast of India, by the Bay of Bengal.
Daughter of local artist Jacquie Haselden, she caught up with her parents after landing at Auckland Airport – Jacquie and husband Nigel were flying to Cambodia on the same day.
“They are taking part in the Habitat for Humanity project, building houses. We were able to catch up for about 10 minutes and then I had to catch a lift home,” she says.
This time last year Michelle had been in Cambodia herself.
“We spent time at a children’s development centre, where they would come in for half a day, and get two meals.”
India, she says, is very different – “It was very dirty and noisy, but the people are lovely, the kids are gorgeous.”
Talented with a brush, she was able to teach some of the children painting.
“A few wanted to know how to use acrylics, and I was able to help them. One of the boys did an amazing picture, it was only the second time he’d used acrylics.”
Back at work in Gordonton, she still has a cold which she reckons she picked up on a gruelling 29-hour train ride – “the trains are very slow, there were so many stops, but I got the chance to know the team better.”
Two weeks is too short a time, she says. “One day I’d like to do something more long term.”