Kakiyan round 2 - Ashley Sackville

It’s with great pleasure and gratitude that I am back in India and back at, in my humble opinion, the BEST school in Chamba, Kakiyan. Being back at the same school for the second year is so special for a couple of reasons. Seeing the teachers that have such a special place in my heart brought tears to my eyes. I had a instant connection with them last year and to pick right up has been so fulfilling. These truly are lifelong friendships that I cherish. The second is seeing how much these little kids remember from last year. They are so proud of all the songs, games and words they remember. They have asked me a million times how the group from last year is doing and want to see pictures from last year. Their instant love is overwhelming. I’m not sure why I was surprised by this but it really drove home the fact that what we are teaching them matters and we are making a difference in their education and hopefully their lives.

The blue team was on their A game day 1 and did an amazing job with their lessons. Day 2 has been a bit more challenging. The kids are much more comfortable with the new group and were a bit wild to say the least. I am so proud of the way the teens pulled together their ideas and suggestions and totally rallied after lunch.

Kaden has come out of his shell in a way I wasn’t expecting. I am so proud of him. At our monthly meetings he tended to be reserved and a bit quite but oh how that has changed once faced with a group of smiling Indian children. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious and the littles, as we have come to call them, flock to him. They love his games and enthusiasm.

Maddy is always prepared and always has great ideas. She is a great example of how preparation calms the nerves and leads to success. I knew she would be great and she hasn’t disappointed. As the group activity leader on her first day she was a great observer and was always willing to jump in where needed.

Lily quickly captured each and every heart. She is so fun loving and relaxed. She is quick to laugh and the kids just love her. It’s been so great to see her blossom in the roll of teacher.

Anna has the task of helping with medical exams today. Her sweet demeanor puts the kids at ease when faced with the nerves of the medical exam. She was the first to receive a whirlwind of cheek kisses on our first day and the echoing of Anna Didi is still fresh in my ears.

Phoebe is just too much fun. She can hold the attention of the littles with her personality of gold. She is silly, funny and completely engaging. Her confidence is on the rise and her teaching is reflecting that. She has absolutely fallen in love with the smallest of our littles, Dipti. I think she seriously wants to take her home. They are the cutest pair I have ever seen.

Savannah’s sweet smile is an attention getter enough. She is following her dear friend Lizzy’s footsteps. She has fallen hard for these kids and the feeling is completely mutual. She constantly has a group of littles gathered around her wanting a hug or a quick picture.

I can’t express how proud I am of this team. I truly feel like a proud mother as I watch them learn and adapt each day. The travel has been hard and I know they are out of their comfort zone but they are shining so bright. I love them each in a different way and am grateful for there trust and friendship in this foreign land.

We ended our day at the YMAD house of learning where we started reading Harry Potter with the girls. They love reading english books and can’t wait for our movie night where we will have an outdoor movie with these sweet girls. We also enjoyed a little art. The girls each painted a small canvas. Their talent blows me away. Practicing conversational English with these older girls is so rewarding. For me especially, seeing them last year and now seeing how they have built on their knowledge and are excelling in their academics reminds me how important our days with them are. Above all I love seeing Brooke’s eyes light up when she sees these girls. The love she has for them is that of her own child.

I hope that I will continue to learn from my experiences both this year and last to be sure my team has an enduring and impactful experience. I miss my sweet kids Liam and Lulu and my husband but know the work we are doing here will be everlasting for both our teens and the Littles.