In the last week of February Sikh Family Camps were held across Holland. The first two days were held at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Amsterdam, then two days at Singh Sabha Gurdwara Denhaag, and then two days at Guru Nanak Gurdwara Rotterdam. The camp was organised by the young Gursikhs from Amsterdam, Bhai Jaskarn Singh and Bhai Jaswinder Singh. A group of sevadaars went from the UK to help with the camp which included Bhai Uttam Singh, Bibi Kamalpreet Kaur, Bibi Simrat Kaur and Uncle Bhupinder Singh.
The camps were filled with fun, activities, keertan, Gurbani calligraphy, talks, Sikh history, dramas, laughs and of course langar! The local Sangats and Gursikhs showed so much pyaar. In particular, most of the children's parents showed great dedication in staying at the camp and attending the classes. The atmosphere of the camps was very Chardi Kalaa! This blog won't able to do justice of how amazing the camps were.
Bibi Pati Kaur helping to teach the children Gurmukhi. Bhenji Pati Kaur is Spanish but lives in Holland. Bhenji recently took Amrit in November 2014 and is learning Gurmukhi and Panjabi. It is amazing how Guru Ji finds people and brings them into Sikhi. Bhenji's story of her journey to Sikhi is very inspiring.
Elder group practising handwriting a Shabad of Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
Fun time. Younger children doing a challenge course.
Rehraas Sahib keertan
It was amazing that at Sukhaasan time, all the children would eagerly come to the front and excitingly pick up instruments to play behind Guru Ji as they are moved to their room.
Adults group photo
Middle group photo
Youngest group photo
Gurbani calligraphy class
Gurbani calligraphy class
Fun time. Target practice.
You may have heard of the egg and spoon race but this was the Gurmat version - grape and spoon race.
Bibi Simrat Kaur helping the children to learn the Gurus names through a playful game.
Group planning a short sketch on social evils that effect the Punjabi community
Group planning a sketch on 'Proud to be a Sikh'.
Group planning a sketch on respecting parents
Drama by campers on the life and teachings of Bhagat Puran Singh Ji Pingalware.
The Gurdwara Sahib in Rotterdam is in beautiful location. It was originally a school building. The layout of the Gurdwara is great with a library, classrooms, spacious Darbaar Sahib and a lovely lake situated opposite.
Morning keertan by children.
Morning divaan Ardaas.
Questions and answers session with the elder group
Bhai Jaskarn Singh's workshop with the middle group on "Fear".
Bibi Simrat Kaur and Bibi Pati Kaur doing the younger group's class.
This Dutch child attending the Gurdwara for the first time during the camp. She loved the experience and participated in the classes. At the end of the camp she came up and said "Thank you for the camp. I really enjoyed myself." It was amazing to see the amount of Kirpaa Guru Ji done at the camp.
Gurbani art class for youngsters. This young Bhenji cried so much at the end of the camp because she didn't want the camp to end. She is the sister of the baby that we ended up calling 'Bhagat Ji'. The family lives very far away in some part of Holland but drove 2 hours to Amsterdam to attend the camp and then drove 3 and an half hours to Rotterdam to attend the camp. Dedication!
Fun time. Making a mummy competition.
Children presenting group work
Bhai Jaskarn Singh's class on "Nindya" (Slander). He shared tips on how best to do Nindya and how to do it without others finding out etc. (Joking!) Really - Gurmat perspective on Nindya by doing Gurbani Veechaar!
Group dramas. This group presented a short drama on the life and teachings of Bhagat Puran Singh Ji Pingalware.
Prize medals given to the children on the last day.
On the second day of the camp many Bhenjees were wearing Dastaars. The Bhenjee on the right (Javleen Kaur, 12 years old) came up to Bhai Jaskarn Singh and asked: "Bhaji do you have time right now? Can I please tell you something?" He replied, "Sure, go ahead." She tells him in a very sweet voice, "Bhaji you know I talk to my friend everyday." Bhaji looked a bit strange because he got the impression she was talking to some boy everyday and started wondering why she would come to him and tell him this. Then she smiled and said: "My friend is Waheguru Ji and I talk to him everyday." Bhaji was really surprised and replied back: "Vaheguru! Well done Bhenji and always remember that Guru Saahib is not very far away, but in reality Guru Jee is very close with you at all times and places." It was very inspiring to see the progress that children were making in building up their relationship with Guru Ji. We can all learn something from this young Bhenji. Do we see Vaheguru as our friend? ਭਾਈ ਰੇ ਮੀਤੁ ਕਰਹੁ ਪ੍ਰਭੁ ਸੋਇ || (O Siblings of Destiny, make God your Friend.)
Bhai Baljinder Singh from Rotterdam has kept his Kesh since the last Sikhi Family Camp in October 2014 with Bhai Navreet Singh UK. Bhai Saahib is a photographer and also wear the dastaar to work now. With Guru Ji's kirpaa, he also started doing regular Amrit-vela and Nitnem and has a lot of interest in Gurbani and Sikh history. Bhai Sahib told me that he now only listens to katha or keertan and nothing else. Vaheguru.
The Bhenji wearing the Dastaar is Rajdeep Kaur. At the end of the last camp that was held in October by Bhai Navreet Singh (UK), Rajdeep Kaur Bhenji gave up eating meat. She cried and said, "I find meat really tasty" but wanted to give it up for Guru Ji. At the end of this camp, Rajdeep Kaur Bhenji has decided to wear a Dastaar to school. On Sunday after langar Rajdeep Kaur Bhenji came up to Bhai Jaskarn Singh and wanted to say goodbye as the sevadaars were leaving. He noticed she was emotional and she even started crying. Bhai Jaskarn Singh asked her: "Why are you crying?" She replied: "You are leaving us again." She wanted camp to take place every week. Vaheguru. Many children enjoyed the Sikhi Family Camp so much that they didn't want it to end so soon. The sevadaars also got a lot of pyaar from the sangat.
Sunday divaan talk on the massacre of Sri Nankana Sahib.
I had the opportunity to meet some Dutch Sikhs. In the photo is Bhai Dharamjodh Singh and Bibi Sajjanbir Kaur. Bhenji Sajjanbir Kaur has not taken Amrit yet, but is planning to. She recently discovered Sikhi and now lives the Sikh way of life by waking up Amrit-vela and practising daily Nitnem. Vaheguru.
Dhan Hai Guru! Dhan Hai Teree Sikhee!