The Best Hugs - Matthew Hansen

Today has been a tough day. We had to say goodbye to the YMAD girls and the kids at our school. We went to the school in the morning to review with the kids what we have taught them. It went well, but all we wanted to do was play with them because it was the last day. We had shorter lessons because we had to hand out the hygiene and education kits we brought for them. All of the kids were very appreciative. We also got them new tables for the school, a water container so they could flush their toilets, and two cricket sets. They loved the cricket sets and wanted to start playing with it immediately. After we had handed everything out, we had to say goodbye. It was hard knowing that I will never see these cheerful kids again. They have had such an impact on me and I am so thankful for them. I wish the best for them and I hope I was able to make a difference in their lives. I got some of the best hugs from these sweet kids that make it even more heart wrenching to leave them. Then as we drove down the road, the kids lined up to give us high fives and chase our car as we went down the long windy road.

    Then, we went to the YMAD girls house. A few of the girls had written me letters that were so sweet. Their genuine personalities put a smile on everyone’s face. We played some games with them and then they gave us more henna. I had Anamika do mine again. After that, we had to say goodbye. The two hours felt like it had gone by so fast. I could’ve stayed and played with them for hours. I said bye and gave hugs to all of the girls. It is hard to know that I will not see them again. I know they all have bright futures and will do amazing things in their lives.

    Two days earlier, we went to Khajjiar. We were supposed to go with the YMAD girls, but they were not able to come. This devastating news made everyone in the hotel very sad. I would have loved to have had them with us, but we were still able to have lots of fun. Before we got there, we stopped at a temple and a priest gave us safety bracelets, and put a red dot on our head. It was a very small temple but it was very unique. Then we finally got to the “grassy field” in Khajjiar. It is not the green grass that I had in mind, but more of the brown dead grass. There were lots of vendors working to get us to buy the snacks that they had in their baskets held together with what looked like fishing line. They didn’t speak much english which caused them to give up a lot of times on trying to sell us stuff. They had a lot of cool activities like horseback riding and hamster balls to play with there. I didn’t ride the horses, but I did go down the hill in the hamster ball with Nate. Overall, it was a super fun day! Can’t wait to go to Dharamsala!

Love you all!

-Matthew