The People of India Don't Need Us, We Need the People of India - Amy Lunt
Over the past week as I’ve watched these 32 (our team including Raj) amazing people travel long long hours, work hard, try hard, play hard, learn and grow with each other and the incredible people of India I can’t help but realize that the people of India don’t need us - we need them! We’ve spent the past 9 months together getting prepared to come make a difference here in India and hopefully we have but the biggest difference is in all of us!! I’ve watched over and over our 23 teens have light bulb moments and I’m in awe as they share what they are learning. How grateful I am that I been able to go to the schools and watch this happen first hand. The villages and schools have welcomed us with open arms, treating us like we’re celebrities but what they do not realize is that we are learning so much more from them than they are from us. Raj (who I wish everyone reading this blog could meet because he is one of the very best people I know) asked me why I do YMAD, why I would leave my family and the comforts of home and come do these expeditions. I told him that I do it not only because I want to pay it forward for those incredible leaders who have taken my children on expeditions but I also do it so that I can witness first hand the incredible transformation the teens undergo in a year. They need India! They need to see that people can be really poor but really happy and loving at the same time. They need to feel the unconditional love the kids in India give them when they know they are there to try and help them. They need to experience the total exhaustion they feel after working and playing really hard all day for 5 straight days. They need to feel what it’s like to be unplugged from the world so they can feel how awesome it is to connect with people, make life-long friends and make their world bigger. These YMAD kids are amazing!! I love each one! We have incredible leaders that are putting their whole heart and soul into this expedition. I don’t think I can even put into words how truly awesome the teens and leaders are. They have gone above and beyond mine and Troy’s expectations and I will be forever changed because of what I’ve learned from all of them!
I’m pretty sure I could never do this without Troy! He brings an energy to the expeditions that is high and never ending. He has inspired all of us to do better and one of the most rewarding things I see when we come to India is watching him interact with our teens, the adult leaders, and the Indian kids and adults. The people here just love him because he opens his heart to them immediately when he meets them. He spoke at the high school assembly in one village and then yesterday they asked him to speak at our cultural exchange in front of the High School and Elementary School so now he’s on the speaking circuit. We’ve also had some pretty intense, humbling experiences that have forever changed our lives. So grateful I get to experience all this with him!!
Lastly, I have to say a HUGE thank you to our four wonderful children who have been our supporters and cheerleaders through all of this. It’s been so awesome so have Jeff here with us as our intern. He has brought an energy and enthusiasm to our team that has been fun to watch! He’s definitely given 110%. A special thank you to Ryan who has given me a ton of encouragement and advice all the way from Cape Verde. We love and miss our Emms & Scoobs who we left at home. We are EXTREMELY grateful the Cobabes and Allison & Brooke - our son’s YMAD leaders and to Lisa Palmer who is taking our daughter on the expedition next week! It is a big job but oh so rewarding!! I totally need what I’ve learned from the people of India! It’s been another life changing experience!