My Little Divanshika - Farah Hamouda

It has been quite a busy week for us here in India. On Wednesday I was my group’s team leader. I began the day by teaching the kids ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees, Toes’. We don’t teach it with the word ‘and’ because the kids might think toes are called ‘and toes’. After the song everyone broke off into their little teaching groups. Allison and Brooke came to visit our school ‘Dula’ and they said that we have the youngest kids out of all of the other groups. Jake, our medic, also came with Allison and Brooke to do some medical exams. The subject I teach is health so he let me help him out. I took the heights of all the kids and watched as he examined them. We have a seven-year-old girl that’s only 105 cm. She is tiny! A lot of the kids had visible cavities; only four kids told Jake that they brushed their teeth. Jake let me see what a healthy eardrum looks like and what a ruptured one looks like. I saw an eardrum that had a hole all the way through it. I also got to see a piece of plastic in an eardrum. None of the children complain about pain, it amazes me. Out of all of the 27 kids at our school only one passed the exam with ‘OKs’ in every section. It is so heartbreaking to know that some of these kids may never get the help that they need.Yesterday I learned that our school has four sets of twins! 8 children out of 27 are a twin; thats crazy! All but one of the kids are related to each other in some way. Most of the children are brother and sister or cousins. The youngest children at the school are 5 years old and the oldest are 9. I’m still surprised by how small the school is because an average class of mine has 27 kids, not my entire school. 

My favorite girl is named Divanshika.  We call her ‘Stardaddy’ because when we first met her she was wearing this sweatshirt that said ’Starberry’ but we misread it as ‘Stardaddy’ and it kind of just stuck. She is absolutely insane! She is always bouncing around and has her fist stuck in her mouth; this would probably disgust most people but I think its the most adorable thing ever. Today when I was teaching her group I gave the kids some lotion to put on their hands. I was supposed to pour some glitter in their hands to represent germs but before I could pour the glitter in Divanshika’s hands she started to rub the lotion all over her face! She definitely does not wait to listen to instructions. Despite this, she is one of the smartest girls. She always grabs the book I’m reading and starts to read it to the rest of the group. She’s a great conversationalist and I wish I could take her home with me!

I visited the YMAD house three times this week. YMAD houses 10 girls here in Chamba that are determined and intelligent. One of the girls I was talking to today says she wants to be a pediatrician when she grows up. Another girl I talked to says she wants to be a scientist. I asked the girls about their school and what they do all day, they responded by telling me that they study. The girls have multiple classes a day but instead of moving class to class, the teacher comes to them. They go to an all girls school and wear uniforms. Right now they are reading Charlotte’s Web and we are planning to watch the movie with all the girls tomorrow. We went to the YMAD house yesterday to celebrate some birthdays. We had cake and the birthday candles that were lit were honestly the coolest candles that I have ever seen! They were little flowers the bloom an play music! I want to bring some home with me if I can! Back at our hotel we took part in a tradition that Allison and Brooke have been doing for years. If its someone’s birthday during our expedition, they sit in a middle of a circle and everyone goes around saying what they love most about that person. You could just feel the positivity radiating last night. I can’t believe that we are halfway through our expedition.