Today, my Green Team's first day at our school Hidav, was an absolutely incredible day. We arrived around 10:15am. We met with the principal/teacher for a few minutes to give him an idea of what we are here to do, then we met the kids. There are 22 of them. 2 10 year olds, 2 8 year olds, several between 6 and 8, and 10 Littles, out title for the preschoolers, kids 5 or younger. Adorable.
My team is Hailey, Hannah, Paige, Bri, and Brayden. And out translator is Alka. Alka was a godsend. Couldn't do very well without her. So whenever I say something like "I spoke with the principal," it means that I am working thru Alka. ☺️
We played a few games with the kids to get to know them, then we went into teaching mode. We have rotations, 5 a day on my team. We had only gotten thru about 1/2 of our second rotation, the principal then had us stop teaching for a moment and come to the flat area of the school, the playground.
There was a huge wedding celebration going on just a couple hundred yards from our school. So lots of horns blaring and drums drumming. We heard the sounds all day, we found out later that it was a wedding as the party came marching by us and the school.
As we came down to the flat area, there were chairs set up and we were asked to sit in them. We were then told that an elected official, a politician, a VIP, was coming to the school and the village was coming to hear him and pay their respects. So, we sat patiently awaiting his arrival.
When the village folks stood up, and I would guess we had over 100 there in total, we anticipated that that meant he was approaching, and sure enough he was. He greeted everyone and sat down right next to me on my left. To my right was my team. To the politicians left was his entourage, a humble group of men who are authentic and genuine.
The official gave his speech, and as he was doing so I had Alka translating in my right ear for me. He said a few things I thought were impressive. First, he said he wanted to recognize us for being at the school, and he appreciated that my girls were wearing traditional Indian dress. I thought that that was cool, and I was quietly proud of that.
He then said, speaking to all, that all of us are brothers and sisters, and that we have a responsibility to educate the children, as they are the future. Our future. Then he concluded by again thanking us for being there, for teaching the children of this school.
And as he concluded, he asked me if I would like to say a few words. Wow, I thought, keep this is a big deal. This is a person who, when word spreads that he is coming, the villagers come out to hear him. And...he was participating in the wedding near us. When he had heard that we were at the school, he walked away from the wedding for a bit to come to the school to recognize us and honor us. He placed an orange scarf of sorts around my neck. Then he had others place scarves around Brayden, Bri, Hannah, Paige, and Hailey's necks. Quite an honor for us. Very humbling.
So when he asked me to say a few words in front of 100+ people, none of whom could reasonably understand me without Alka, it was indeed a very big deal.
I stood up, asked Alka to translate to the group for me, and here's what I said.
I thanked everyone for having us at their school. I told them that we are honored to be there, and that we are grateful for having us there. I told them that we are from America, and that in America we have many many blessings. However, I said, we count being here at Hidav and being with them as one of our life's greatest blessings. I concluded by saying that we are here to teach, to educate, to hopefully make a difference with their children, and in doing so...we learn so much ourselves. And that we love teaching and connecting with their children.
Afterwards, we asked if we could have a group photo, and they readily agreed.
The good pics were taken with Hannah's camera, so I don't have them yet. I'd love to attach them to this blog post, I think though when you eventually see the pics you'll easily be able to tell what it is you're seeing.
This was an incredible day. Being with the humble, respectful, connecting people and especially these kids. It was so honoring and humbling to be appreciated publicly by these humble and grateful people. It taught me so much of how much room I have in my own personal life how important it is to honor one another, to truly see the God in others, and to not just tell them that the God in me sees the God in them, but to take action and show them that that's true.