King's Bruton's chaplain raises £14,000 after 40 nights of 'Lent in a Tent'
PUBLISHED: 10:56 21 March 2013 | UPDATED: 21:15 05 April 2013
The Chaplain of King's Bruton last night finished his 40 day 'Lent in a Tent' marathon, raising £14,000 for hundreds of orphans and needy children at an orphanage in southern India.
The Chaplain of Kings Bruton last night finished his 40 day Lent in a Tent marathon, raising 14,000 for hundreds of orphans and needy children at an orphanage in southern India.
The newly shaven Rev Nigel Wilson-Brown, 47, will return home tonight for his first proper sleep since he swapped his bed in Brutons High Street for a mattress in a small tent outside his chaplaincy office.
His sojourn under canvas coincided with some of the coldest weather of the winter, with temperatures plummeting as low as minus seven.
A growing number of readers have been following his progress via his blog which has provided a daily insight into the lives of the orphans in Tamil Nadhu as well as commentating on the highs and lows of camp life in mid-February to mid-March.
The founder of the Shining Faces in India orphanage, Jayaraj Krishnan, emailed the chaplain at the start of the adventure conveying his serious concern that the adverse weather would kill him, seeking assurance that he was safe from snakes, fire and rain.
Meanwhile, back at the orphanage, the new team of Gap Year students from Kings were slightly taken aback when a man raced in to the compound with a spitting cobra wrapped round his arm, the head gripped vice-like in a very experienced hand. The writhing slowed until finally the creature hung straight as a rod, deadly fangs dripping poison in the open mouth above.
Then, as the chaplains 40 days were coming to an end, Jayaraj emailed him to report that six extremely dangerous elephants had crashed into the orphanage compound looking for food. The Times of India report went on: They crushed homes to raid food from kitchens as owners lay still-as-a-board so as not to be seen.
The chaplain commented in his blog: It's a little insight into life so different to our own. Never will elephants rampage past my tent ... even if sometimes it sounds like they do. Never need I worry about a two-fanged bite that could spell the end of my days. But Jayaraj worries.
In his last blog before returning to the warmth of his bedroom after a 40 day absence, he wrote: For me, I can only offer you my deepest thanks. Your support has meant so much and warmed me through very cold nights... This 40 night 'day' is over, but duties and responsibilities go on with the dawn of a new morning. Our relationship with the orphanage continues ... the next team heads out in July; many more will go in the years to come. With such massive need before us there's no way we can ever do everything ... but we've shown that we can do something.
The money will go towards:
Water: The installation of two commercial-capacity reverse osmosis water purification systems for the boys' and girls' hostels. These will deliver plenty of clean cool water for all the dry mouths that need it. (3000)
Power: The extension of underground cabling from the main back-up generator to the boys hostel and new dining hall. As Jayaraj, founder of the orphanage, writes, "Boys really suffer lack of electricity during nightly power cuts." The power cuts out predictably every night and currently the boys have to re-site to other areas of the campus that are covered by the back-up. (1300)
Food: The construction of a building to house the new steam cooking equipment, and the installation of this modern cooking system and pipework. This will mean safer cooking and a more healthy variety of food. It also means the new dining hall, recently decorated by our latest team, could become fully functional and fill like it did for the celebration meal taken there when the painting was done. (3000)
Sleep: Jayaraj says: "A cot (bed) is something that the children will enjoy having for themselves. All the children would have never slept in a cot with a mattress on. This will be a great blessing to them ...". We aim to provide 50 double beds & mattresses, plus sheets and pillows for 4 small children per large steel bed, so providing for the youngest 200 children in the orphanage. (5000)