The Last Word, but not the Last Chapter
Team Journal Entry from January 2, 2015:
A lot was riding on this trip to Chennai. Would I feel healthy enough to do it? Would I get sick here? Would I enjoy it as much or more than my first visit in 2012?
I needn’t have worried. What a fantastic journey it’s been. For our last full day, Coral and I made the team an “American” breakfast of French toast because we liked the bread and jam here. Roshan called it bread toast and wasn’t impressed, but it was a fun experience cooking in an Indian kitchen nonetheless.
We started the day at the hospital visiting Sister Matilda’s Early Learning Center, meeting one of the pediatric physicians, and touring the whole hospital.
At Assisi Illam we had a tiny group as daycare was closed and most of the kids were back in school. We did crafts, nail painting, and a little Jenga before Sister Rose joined us for lunch.
Then we did an afternoon field trip and were able to take Sylvia, Sophia, and Jasmine along. We toured St. Thomas Mount, another church, and St. Thomas Basilica. While I’m usually not moved by religious buildings other than their beauty, I was awed by the Basilica. It’s one of three in the world built over the tomb of one of the twelve apostles. The idea of Thomas coming here to do something he believed in then dying for it moved me. I can’t relate to his religion, but I can relate to pursuits of justice in the not too distant past that have taken many lives.
We wrapped up our mini excursion at Marina Beach, the second largest in the world. It was fun and a little scary to get shin deep in those very powerful waters.
We ended our workday at SEAMS. We played first and said our goodbyes last while a few of the girls raced to finish our beautiful goodbye cards. I’ve really come to love the SEAMS kids, especially the girls. They come mostly from tough, troubled lives. But in the end they want the same things I do. Love, affection, friendship, and a place in this world where they fit in.
The remaining team – Diane, Coral, Katie, Marie, and I – with Stephen and Sheeba have talked in depth about SEAMS these past couple of days. New government regulations combined with troubled kids, lack of resources, and societal norms makes for a complex situation. But I’m committed to helping in new ways between now and my third visit in 2016. I cannot say how happy and relieved I was to hear about Stephen and Sheeba’s commitment to these kids.
So yes. I will be returning again. I may get the last word in Team 150’s journal, but this is only the close of the second of many chapters for me.
Entry submitted by: Robin
Message of the Day – “To believe in something, and not to live it, is dishonest.” – Mahatma Gandhi
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