Festive feelings began a few days before our Christmas trip with everyone joining in cleaning up the centre and putting up decorations. The actual party started the night before Christmas Eve; a big sleep over with mothers, children, babies and us staff filling each room of CUP’s centre.
There was even a special visitor, one of the girls we’d worked with, now working came back especially for the picnic. We watched a film together, ate and then some of the mothers and girls tried on the new clothes and jewelry they’d bought as a dress rehearsal for the next day.
I was the first to go to sleep at 1am and at 5am I was woken with a chorus of ‘sister, we’re ready’! They had been up since 3am getting dressed up for the day; I was hailed the big sleeper of the group with my four hours sleep. The excitement made up for the lack of sleep and everyone was more than ready for the big trip.
The bus arrived at 8am so we had plenty of time for breakfast together. We had to leave behind a few of the new mothers who didn’t want to make the journey so there were 23 mothers, 35 children and 12 members of staff with a couple of their children on the bus ready to go. The levels of excitement were high and the journey began with us all singing together but travel sickness soon kicked in and the two hour long journey involved plenty of vomit. We arrived at the park in a historical area of the country where we had lots of fun playing games, the children were able of go on rides and we looked around a couple of museums.
The trip ended with biryani in the bus and with the lack of sleep beginning to take it’s toll, a few fights. Tired and ready to get home, the two hour bus journey back was quiet and peaceful. I think it is often our happy memories which help us survive the bad ones. They bring joy and last so much longer than any event. I hope that the excitement of getting ready for the trip, the songs sung, games played and this time spent together play a part in building up those special memories for CUP’s children and mothers.