Making Their Mark on the World: Tricia Ely

How do I describe this journey so far? My experience in India, so far consist of so many contrasts. India is so full of colors, bright beautiful clothing and vivid painted buildings and colors everywhere But there is also so much filth and dirt. Garbage is just scattered outside.  We drive through town past vegetable and fruit stands next to piles of garbage that goats and cows are standing on top of eating. So many contrasts!

One minute we will be exhausted from days of travel, arriving at our very cold hotel, only minutes later to be laughing and energized by these fun teenagers. Moments of discouragement and homesickness, followed by not wanting to say goodbye to these people and this place. The thing that has brought me the most joy has been watching these teenagers transform into the most wonderful teachers. Some of my observations:

Staci…this girl is just pure joy! She is the embodiment of Operation Ashabadi, which means optimism in Hindi. Staci always looks on the bright side of life. Her enthusiasm is contagious. She is organized and always well prepared for any situation and is a very engaging teacher. Staci has really taken to photography and has had so much fun capturingthis amazing experience. She is such a bright light on our team!

Thomas... is calm, cool and collected all the time. He is a gentleman and aware of those around him. He watches after the girls and is always nearby to help out. He was wondering why his arms were so sore today, and then he realized it’s because he is always carrying the children. They love him! He was sick on our second day of teaching but he was such a trooper to power thru it and come to school. He is such a team player!

Sarah…is my calm, determined, and unflappable rock. She always has a smile on her face and she exudes confidence. She is a photo bug and is always documenting our adventure. She finds the beauty in every situation. She is the most put together, lovely girl, and I can’t imagine our team without her.

Kimberlee…is our gently soul. She is one of the most authentic people that I know. She feels deeply and loves deeply too. The school kids our so drawn to her and love her blond hair and blue eyes. She forgot to pack her entire lesson one day on accident. Since Thomas wasn’t feeling well, Kimi was so adaptable and stepped in and taught his lesson that day. She did it cheerfully and beautifully.

Preston…continues to surprise me. But he is so much fun to watch with the children. He is the Pied Piper of Bhariyan! He is such a goof ball and they love his dance moves. He is so animated whenever he tells a story, and the kids love to crawl all over him. He has endless amounts of energy, and is always thinking about how to improve and do things better the next day.

I wish I could write about every person on this expedition, they have become so dear to my heart.  Everyone of these teenagers are remarkable people.  I love each and every one of them!  I am so excited to watch them grow into adulthood and see how they make their mark on the world.