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My Last Day in Chennai

Team Journal for Tuesday – January 19th 2016.

Skye and Sophia

Skye and Sophia

Pre-Departure Tuesday

After a weekend of flu-like symptoms, I was very pleased to wake with a much healthier body this morning. After a breakfast of scrambled eggs and dosa (my favorite!) our team left for their respective destinations—Maddie and Carol to utilize their teaching abilities at a local school

and Stephen, Sheeba, and I to Assisi Illum’s daycare.

After nursery rhymes, English lessons, a story about three little pigs, and playtime, we left to join the rest of our team for lunch and free time. Maddie ventured to a supermarket where she bought basil-ginger tea, a new flavor for both of us. I took a nap, a privilege never to be taken for granted again after starting college.

We re-congregated at 5:00PM to walk to SEAM Children’s Home for my last time. Out of all the impending goodbyes I was dreading this one the most. The boys and I have spent the last two weeks bonding over games and goofiness. Though verbal communication was not always easy, we had embraced the universal language of fun and laughter together.

When we arrived we enjoyed dirt for the last time together (here comes the sentimental writing) as we planted baby eggplant shoots. After finishing our fantastic gardening, we played group games and simply enjoyed each others’ company. Finally, we put into play the plan Mrs. Sheeba had created to give me a reminder of India on my travel home. Sheeba, Maheswari (the SEAM boys’ teacher), Kalaivani (the SEAM cook), and I gathered on the floor for some female fun—a henna party. Maheswari sat next to me with a plastic bag similar to a cake-decorating utensil, only rather than frosting it contained henna sauce. With incredible patience and detail, she created artwork on the palm of my hand.

After an hour of careful work, we stood to hug goodbye. I was presented with a farewell hug from each boy as well as a collective homemade card. As I looked at each face, I realized they had become more than just children in need of a volunteer. Though they called me “sister” out of respect and formality, I felt I had become the American definition of the word.

Trying to suppress the sentimental feelings, I returned to the guest house alongside my other friends. A wonderful experience has come, and now it’s going. Though I had to decline the SEAM boys when asked if I would be returning next year or next month, I still hold onto my answer with hope. “Not next year, or next month, but maybe, hopefully, someday.”

Entry Submitted By: Skye

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