Karen Haggerty

Writer & Clinical Hypnotherapist

From Goa With Love

Due for release November 2017

A True Story by K.A. Haggerty & C.L. Hickman

Karen attending her son's confirmation in her favourite Midnight Blue Sari, purchased in Delhi

Karen attending her son's confirmation in her favourite Midnight Blue Sari, purchased in Delhi

Most people bring back souvenirs, trinkets to remind them of their vacation.

That was my intention when I first visited Goa over 20 years ago. I never intended to bring home anything more than memories. I could never have imagined that a chance trip of a lifetime would end up changing my life, and that of my family forever. I would never have dreamed that I would fall in love with more than the fragrant, bustling country. But I did.

I fell in love with its people, its chaos, it’s sometimes baffling ways. Its culture and characters, all set me on a path that would transform the woman I was, challenge all I thought I could do, and bring me to the edge of all I knew.

My time in Goa, and later other parts of India, was incredible. It was hard, heart-breaking, hilarious and fantastic all at once.

The smiling faces of the children providing drinks and parasols to the holidaymakers hid the hardship of their lives once the sun went down. Children on the very outskirts of their own society, not worthy an education, not deserving of a future. I knew I could do more than simply handing over a couple of rupees. I vowed to help in whatever way I could. And I wasn’t alone. My whole family, along with the assistance of other visitors from many other countries and local people,  pledged our support.

It started with clothing and shoes and transformed into a battle to get as many of these children in education as I could. These children became more than a passionate call to arms, I loved them. They were such an important part of my life, this crazy and wonderful Indian life I lived.

Over the years that followed, I became a part of a community, I embraced every part of their way of life, as difficult as that sometimes was. I left my Western idealism's behind as I touched down on the runway. Given the moniker of “Karen Mamma” was proud to live, laugh and cry alongside the astonishing people I met from all walks of life and both sides of the economic line. The local people knew of me and what I was trying to achieve. My entire family stood beside me as we strived to give these children the best start we could and to prove to their own people how worthy of this they were.

Yet two of the boys I met, the two we gave my hearts to seemed to be a lost cause. 

It became a race against time to give them all that they deserved, a chance to be educated and help them grab a more productive future than that that lay before them.

I knew I had to do more, I knew, no matter what, I could never let them go again.

Most people bring back souvenirs from their holidays, I brought back two sons.

This is our story.