Shindia Happens - Mary Schettler
Yesterday was the cultural exchange and I learned so much about everyone's schools. The blue team's school (Amy Burbidge's group) was the first we visited. There school was actually a decent hike from where we were dropped off but all of the children gathered at the nearby high school. This school had a special spirit of Home. We were so welcomed and taken care, its hard not to feel special. They performed for us and we performed for them but afterwards we all danced together. When I was dancing and being silly I met Depa and her friends. I could not stop hugging her and her friends; I told them I was so happy to meet them and they are so pretty. It was harder to leave when they said I was so nice and they loved me.
The second school's spirit was a Formal feeling. The orange teams (Brett Burbidge) school was in the middle of the village; so we walked through it with what felt like the entire village watching (They stare at us all the time in public; I am so used to it now). This school felt more comfortable around their normal village group but the view from the school was spectacular. After performing we did a fun group game called Iggle Wiggle that I helped lead.
The third school was definitely the most Spiritual out of everyone. A few days ago was the medical exams; where our nurse checks the children for anything. When she was at this school, she examined this little girl that honestly looks like she could be 5 when she is really 8. This little girl lives in a tin shed with a mother who can't function normally and the only reason she goes to school is because they provide lunch; the rest of the time she has to fend for herself. Since then the red team (Nicole group) has kept an eye on this girl, giving the attention she has never had before. After performing, we had time to visit before we left and the entire time this girl was in someone's arms. She was passed around to everyone who wanted to hold her; she latched on to each person and would hug them so tight, never saying a word. I had a turn and I could not stop crying for a long while afterwards. She hugged me and was so happy staying in my arms. This little girl had everyone in tears.
My school was the last school to go to. My school's spirit was definitely Energetic. I think our school was confused why we were dancing and singing but as soon as we were done chaos ensued. All the kids started grabbing anyone and everyone for games. I played so many games with my kids I was so exhausted. Since it was the end of the day parents were coming to pick up there kids. So many people/parents from village just watched us play and many came up to me to say thank you. When we were leaving we got to walk many of our kids back home.
The cultural exchange was definitely an eye opener to life in India and there life compared to ours. But I don't think I will ever forget Depa, the girl, and my kids.