“I love you too.” - Sarah Palmer

Gosh today was hard. Really hard. We had to say goodbye to our cute faces at our schools AND the YMAD girls. It was full of tears and the fear that we won’t see those beautiful faces again. But there was more love than sadness. (Which is saying a lot coming from me, because I BAWLED haha.) 

    There is love in the arms that wrap around you and cling onto you. There is love in the hands that grab yours and don’t let go, and hold on to yours through the car window as you’re about to drive away. There is love in the beautiful smiles that could light the world. There is love when they cry with you and wipe your tears away and give you kisses. There is love in each note they hand you as they say “This is for you.” There is love in their laughs and giggles. There is love as we give the kids at schools first aid, hygiene, and school kits and backpacks. There is love as the teachers sit you in a chair and give you gifts out of the kindness in their hearts. There is love as we give the YMAD girls pictures of ourselves with notes and our blankets. And there is love in the hugs from my teammates and leaders.

    I love that Anamika wrote my name on her arm in henna. I love that the YMAD girls are so willing to do henna on you and how willingly they love you. I love how the kids at my school say “One picture. Please. Please ma’am” when you get your camera out. I love the little crazy first graders and their endless energy. I love the little giggles and the adorable little voices that say “I love you too.” I love that the older kids taught me how to say a few phrases in Hindi-they are so smart! I love that the kids can write their names in English and Hindi. I love that they each have their own little personalities.

    I love them. I miss them. I am so grateful for them. I will always remember them and I hope they always remember me. I hope those kids and girls go on to accomplish great things, because they have so much potential! I hope I made a difference in their lives, because they definitely made one in mine! These kids have very simple lives. I think they have always known more than I have that material things don’t matter as much as the relationships you have with other human beings. The kids and YMAD girls have taught me how to love more deeply and with more strength. They have taught me to live with more hope. They have taught me how to better understand the power of a hug or smile or wave and how much power I have in making someone’s day brighter. This has been amazing. Worth waiting five years for. Chamba, you’ll see me again, you have my heart!