Team Journal Entry from January 7, 2015:
Back to India, back to feeling at home and at peace. I worship every moment spent with the children and was rejuvenated again this morning at Little Angel’s Early Intervention Center. Luckily, most of the children’s ears are clean so I only had to clean three children;s, and the rest of the time I spent helping the mothers with activities such as strengthening exercises, fine motor skills, and speech therapy. I started to become attached to this beautiful girl named Harini as I helped her with her reading lesson, when another mother needed help and oh my goodness, Ashwin is definitely my favorite. He is a severely contracted, developmentally delayed child who cannot support his head (most likely from hydrocephalus), so his mother props him up on pillows whenever she goes to get him the next activity. Well, I propped him up on my lap and wouldn’t let go after that. Every time I hummed to him, he would giggle and smile, and my heart would melt. The mothers laughed and teased me, and it was especially comedic to them every time one of the little boys I cleaned yesterday would see me, then instantly cry and run away.
At the P.R.S. school, Jayne, Alex, and Victor had a busy morning teaching conversational English and keeping the kids’ attention with word games. The most difficult challenge was trying to let the girls respond to questions over the boys’ hasty and loud replies. A student named Alexandrea got super excited when introduced to Alex, and all three volunteers were treated like Bollywood stars from the children all asking for their autographs.
In the afternoon, Alex, Jayne, and Victor went for a walk down the main road. Alex bought cashews and butter cookies for all the children at SEAMS and Jane went to exchange her tunic and got suckered into three more tops and a pair of leggings, a classic trap that I am desperately trying to avoid this trip.
Tonight at SEAMS I felt pathetic. Roshan had to wake me up since I was still asleep at 5 p.m. and as soon as I got out of bed, I could tell I was going to be as useless as a pile of cow dung…although cow dung actually has multiple uses in this society so that’s probably not a very strong comparison. At least Jayne, Victor, and Alex were productive. They focused on the girls by having them tell them about themselves and draw pictures, henceforth they discovered that Mercy and Swathy are quite the artists with their beautiful flower depictions. As usual, it was difficult to keep the boys at bay while the girls enjoyed their lesson plans. Luckily, I was able to get through all six children as Victor took secret action photos of me like the paparazzi, and even Roshan sat completely still as I cleaned his ear. But I was disappointed to leave early from feeling ill as I had brought the nail clipper to start cleaning their nails and reminding them about hand hygiene. But I look forward to the following days with the children, and as always, enjoying every single moment dedicated to improving their health, education, and happiness. And now, I am even prouder to be able to say I’ve shared these experiences with my favorite brother, Alex.
Entry submitted by: Maria
Message of the Day – “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” – Dr. Seuss