Y. (Undoubtably) M.A.D. by Kylee Rassmussen

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If I'm being completely honest I had doubts before coming in this expedition.

I wondered how we could make a difference in just eight days. I doubted the amount we would be able to teach in such a short time and I worried that the trip would be more for us than the kids. But I couldn't have been more wrong.

The kids in the village as well as the school catch on to English quicker than I thought they would; they keep up with the stories and remember most of the words and phrases we teach them. It amazes me how willing most of the kids are to learn something that is so, undoubtably, difficult.

But I've realized the difference we're making is so much more than the language. These kids have incredibly hard lives; they all come from poor, abusive, or neglectful homes (sometimes all three) and the time they spend at school could very well be the only break they receive. Estelle made the point earlier that the affection these children get from us might be the only positive attention they get.

You can see how much our presence means to them. Their eyes light up and they don't stop smiling from the second we walk through the door. They shower us with kisses on the cheek and "I love you"'s, and not just because we sing songs and dance and play "ride that pony" a million times in an hour. They do this because we make them feel valued. We give them hugs and ask how they're doing and remember their names.

We make them feel loved.

Just having a dance party with them in their courtyard is enough to fill them with confidence. Confidence I hope they carry with them for the rest of their lives.

This is some of the hardest work I've ever done. But it is also the most rewarding experience because I know I'm making a difference in these kids' lives and that has become everything to me.

Mom, Dad, Mads, E, Abi, and the rest of the fam, I love and miss you so much. I'll see you soon.

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