I Will Never Forget Nishtha - Emily Lunt

Well friends and family and others we made it to India and our first day already flew by! Mom and dad, yes the curry still tastes the same, yes it still always smells a little bit funky and yes the showers are still butt cold. Over here in West Bengal, though, it seems a little bit easier to take a cold shower considering that it feels like it's about 100 degrees not to mention how freaking humid it is. I'm pretty sure a shower helps for about two seconds but the minute you step out of the shower you are already sticky and sweaty again haha. Oh speaking of showers, my trip really started off with a BANG haha. On Sunday morning I woke up at 6:00 (even though I didn't have to wake up until like 8:00 lol) so anyway Lindsey was also awake so we decided to beat the crowd and go take showers (we have two showers). Well lucky for me, I was in the shower and about mid way through removing my clothes when I noticed that I had a little (not little) shower buddy. A good 5/6 inch lizard was hanging out on the wall next to me and right as I realized him I LITERALLY jumped out of my pants. I just kept thinking to myself "leave it alone and it won't move" which by the way is definitely not AT ALL true when it comes to particularly large lizards in the shower apparently because I swear to you I looked away for .0000001 seconds and when I looked back over it was GONE. and let me tell you I was absolutely not up for a game of hide and seek. So I figured (I literally prayed) that it went back out the window because I couldn't see it anywhere. I grabbed my large bucket and filled it with water and set it on the floor and was all ready for a nice shower when SPLAT the lizard fell from the ceiling and landed about 2 inches away from my foot. I had to slap both hands on my mouth to cover up my squeal. Good thing it crawled away into the water drain and I didn't see it again, but it was definitely a shocking experience as I was half awake and all alone.

Ok so I did live through that shower and thank goodness because the rest of the day was amazing experience. As most of you know (or maybe most of you don't know), we are staying in Nishtha which is a shelter for women and children. Sunday afternoon, probably about 50 women shuffled into our common room and preformed a welcome ceremony where, starting with Jane and Jeff, we went up one by one and lit a candle as they threw little orange flowers on our heads. They would cheer and cheer after each of us took our turns. Following the beautiful ceremony, one by one, many of the women stepped forward to speak a few words ,through a translator, of gratitude and love. I couldn't possibly help my tears as each women told us how they look forward to this day of the year each year and how the day makes their life full of joy. They talked about how Nishtha is a family as is YMAD, but we are not two families, we are one. The translator told us with tears in her eyes that she had only been in Nishtha for 4 months, and had never met YMAD, but couldn't help her emotions after hearing these touching words of the other women in the shelter. It was a very touching moment for me as well as everyone in my group. We then spent hours singing for each other and dancing for each other and dancing with each other. It was not hard to feel the pure happiness and joy in the room from both YMAD and Nishtha. After the woman once again came forward any thanked us, the women slowly shuffled out of the room, embracing us in hugs and kisses. I knew from my last experience in India, that you can easily fall in love with these people and children in a week, but I never knew it was possible to fall in love with these women in a day, therefore, this first goodbye of the trip was as difficult as any. I feel so blessed and so full of gratitude for YMAD and the true difference we are making to these people. I am thankful for India and the people here that show us so much love without even knowing us. It is so comforting to know that we truly have a family here in India who love us. As the last women spoke to us and said goodbye, they repeatedly pleaded with us never to forget them, and I know that I never will.