The Purple Team
The purple Team lead by myself John Cobabe and my five amazing team members Babe, Blake, Kamryn, Raychel & Sophie.
Hidden in the heart of West Bengal is a small village known as Uma Patur. About twenty minutes drive from Nishtha, we arrive at a small path on the side of the road. Following the cement, bricks, and cobblestone path, we arrive at a small school and school yard. On our first day we were greeted with a handful of children and welcoming hello’s. A cow stands guard in the schoolyard as the classroom begins to fill. Everyone is eager and anxious to begin teaching our first day of school. The teens all know that they are in charge and I’m only there to step in if they need a hand. First in line to take charge and lead the team is Babe.
Babe “baby” - As some of the older boys call her in the school yard. With a sweet smile and confident demeanor takes charge of the room with a full lunged “Alligator Alligator” her team follows suit with a roaring “CHOMP CHOMP” the attention getter of the day has done its job. With the help of the translator Shinay, Babe explains her expectations to the students, and begins class. As the week goes by our relationships with each other grow and grow all the children are eager to rush to Babe to hold her hands on the walk into the village. As I get distracted talking English with the older boys outside the class room I never fail to notice Babe holding one of the youngest children in one arm with the hand of another in her other hand.
Raychel - The rodeo queen of Ride that pony. Leading the parade in ride that pony the smiles were endless. Seeing Raychel get a whole room singing and dancing was a real treat, with beams for barrels she set the record with the most laps around the room. We still don’t know what made the kids laugh more, seeing her shake it side to side or sliding across the room in a heated game of duck, duck, goose.
Blake - Today Blake stood “Tall” while sharing his version of the book Baba ji. Our numbers had increased to over 100 students. Earlier in the week books had “little” effectiveness in teaching the children. Today we unlocked the secret and read with complete success. Our Village has several boys who have a real hard time with focusing in on the lesson and taking interest. Once Blake had proven to the boys with his skills in both soccer and in the class room their admiration for him truly helped in bringing them close and settling the class.
Kamryn - Kamryn’s dedication shined brightly today, after suffering a sore throat and losing her voice with as much energy as ever, she taught and played as hard as anyone. Where others may have fallen short and preferred to lay down. Allowing her teammates to help and be her voice she managed the team which resulted in our most successful teaching day yet. I have yet to hear her complain and she is always ready and eager to help with any request I ask. Kamryn’s actions speak loudly even when her voice was silenced.
Sophie- After working with the villagers we head out on village tours. We are invited into the homes of children from school. The mothers prepare small plates to feed us. Puffed rice, cucumbers, apples and crackers are among the favorites in the group. Not among the favorites are a few dishes that nobody wants to eat. I have yet to see Sophie refuse anything. Taking one for the team she graciously eats what she is given with a smile on her face. On today’s tour I had the pleasure of seeing her face light up in amazement of the bead work being done on a wedding vail. Her interest in the villagers work prompted a demonstration which we all enjoyed. “Shophie” as the kids pronounce will be taking lead for tomorrow’s village lessons and activities. I have complete confidence in her abilities and look forward to watching her shine.
The team has regular meetings to discuss our highlights of the day, what’s working & where we can improve. Everyone has provided thoughtful responses that have resulted in successful changes the next day.
Dinner break 😊
I was just about to finish this blog when the thanksgiving dinner bell rang. All the tables were lined up in a row to form one giant dinner table. We dined on chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, and stuffing. As per tradition in my house, we go around the table and let everyone know what we are thankful for. As a leader in the program I get the pleasure to watch the teens grow through out the year. Listening to the teens express their gratitude for each other, the people in India and their experience so far proved the leaps and bounds of growth in the teens during this experience. My expectations for the love I would have for the teens has been surpassed ten fold. It is truly an honor to get to share this experience with them, one that I wouldn’t change for anything. Thank you for allowing your teens to join us in India.