India Team 137 Journal Excerpts – Part 4

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Message of day: They may not remember your name, your ago, or anything you said, but they will remember your smile and the joy you brought to them.

Rebecca and Mercy

Rebecca and Mercy

Day 3 is complete. We ventured once again back to the Christ King school and spent another hour each with 4th and 5th grade. 5th was first as always, and Dave started with estimation and Jane and I finished with vowels and the use of an and a. The more I’m trying to teach English, I realize even more how complicated and challenging it is to learn. I feel very lucky that it is my first language. The children were a little bit confused at first, but with enough repetition, going slowly, and translation help from the teacher, they got along just fine. Fourth grade was similar; Dave started us off with fractions and I taught a few examples of present and past tense irregular verbs. Once again, English makes no sense.  At the end of the 4th grade class, we taught them the song “the wheels on the bus”, and they went crazy. We brought along our cameras today to capture some of the moments, and I’m so glad we did. These kids try so hard and want so badly to learn, despite being in an un-air-conditioned room, being short on books and supplies, and sitting on wobbly benches and tables. They take care of themselves so well, and are very polite and respectful. It makes me sick to think of all the kids in America who complain relentlessly about going to school: getting a quality education for free. I know I will certainly think twice before I dare think a negative thought about school.

After lunch we went off to a department type store in Chennai, and I spent over half of the money I withdrew from the ATM! They had so many varieties of beautiful Indian painting, wood and marble carvings, rugs, fabric and clothes, etc. Despite the fact that India has so many people, there is exquisite detail in nearly everything. Doorways, gates, walls, fabric of all sorts, and many other things that I’m failing to mention. There’s certainly something to be said about slowing down and “smelling the roses”, for lack of a more cliche term.

Our evening, of course, consisted of a trip to the seam’s home. This is always my favorite part of the day. 2 hours can fly by like 20 minutes in the company of these kids. All they want to do is be around us, which can sometimes get them in trouble if it isn’t their turn. I expected to have a clear favorite by this point, but I could never choose. Each is wonderful and delightful in his or her own way, and despite the circumstances, they are just so happy. I love to see their gratitude for everything they have, and it’s extremely moving. Pastor Arul and his wife have spent over 30 years doing this and have seen over 500 kids come through. They have dedicated their lives to this because it was the right thing to do. This, if I put it into perspective, drives me to tears. Where would these children, these marvelous brilliant children, be without this place? It is difficult to fathom, and I’m not sure I want to.

What an incredible experience this is. I feel like it is one of the most important
things I’ll ever do. The point of coming to the school and orphanage is to help and teach the children, but honestly, they’re teaching me far more than I could ever hope to relay to them. What an incredible day.

Rebecca

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