Another Year Older and Feeling a Bit Wiser - Ashley Sackville

Another Year Older and Feeling a Bit Wiser…


Yes, that’s right it’s my birthday.  Another year behind me and what a way to spend my birthday and not to mention Thanksgiving.  As I reflect on my trip so far I am overwhelmed with gratitude on this Thanksgiving day.  A few of the things that come to mind…

1. Family.  I am so thankful for my family at home and thankful for their sacrifice that made it possible for me to make this journey. I am also thankful for my YMAD/India “family”.  My village team has been amazing. Their flexibility, love and willingness to help at every turn has made every step of this trip easier and more enjoyable.  Abby, Lizzy R., Dallin, Emma, Emma and Braden thank you so much for letting me share each day with you.  I have seen you grow and change over the past few days and my heart if full.

Today Dallin performed eye exams with all the children.  He took such care in taking the kids one by one and making them feel comfortable.  He so carefully explained the process.  Dallin has an amazing demeor with the kids they flock to his love and kindness every day.

Emma R. was teaching about the weather her activity using cotton balls to create clouds was a crowd pleaser.  She can hold their attention no matter the subject.  They are taken with her golden hair and her pure kindness.

Abby was working with colors, one of the activities included making creations with Bumchums…these are great fun but are a bit like Velcro.  She very carefully explained not to put them in their hair but guess what.  One lovely little lad put a full handful in a cute girls hair.  Not exactly the way she was hoping it would go but with the help of the headmaster we go them all our with only minimal cutting…Abby handled the whole thing with grace.

Emma E. had a day full of activity.  She was jumping and skipping her way through the day.  I love her animation and how happy and open she is with the kids.  She always has a smile on her face and I love watching her.  Her family pictures were also a big hit today.

Lizzy had a fun filled lesson on taste; I have to admit I stole at least a few jelly bellies from her stash.  She worked with the different tastes and the kids loved tasting all sorts of sweet, sour and bitter concoctions. Lizzy is always so prepared for her lessons and I am so grateful for her willingness to help me.

Braden was the sports guy for the day.  All the kids loved learning about all kids of sports and especially loved playing soccer with him. This was a great lesson for getting the wiggles out.  Braden took his lesson downstairs and away from the rest of the group, which was a great help for all the other kids.   Braden is our quite leader; he has a very attentive eye and is full of humor always given at the perfect time.

2.  Children.  I am so grateful for the open hearts if these children in India.  They have welcomed us with open hearts and arms.  It took them less than a day to warm up and fall in love with this group of American teens.  The way they look at the feels my heart with pure joy.  It is a beautiful reminder that all children are very much alike.  The way they play with us and each other and the way their hearts open with our judgment.  Its so refreshing to see these children with so little display pure joy and happiness.  It reminds me that happiness is inside all of us and when we aren’t preoccupied with things the happiness has a way of shining.   I am also thankful for my own children and the lessons I have learned from my experiences as a mother.  I know these experiences have helped me prepare for this journey.  I would love nothing more for my two kids to come and play with these kids in India and see the way they learn and play.  I have a feeling they would get along quite well.  Liam and Lulu I love you so much and can’t wait to give you a big squeeze.

3.  Finally, perspective.  I am so grateful for the fresh perspective I have gained in these few short days.  We have all had highs and lows and the resiilliance I have seen from all of my team gives me such great hope for the future.  I am certain great things will come from all of these teens.  I know they will make this world a better place and the experiences they have had here in India will have played a huge part.

So as I grow another year older today for the first time in several years I can say I am most certainly wiser.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

XOXO Ashley