This Is Why We're Here -- Ashlee Webb

Today I climbed into a bus and drove forty minutes through the winding roads of the Himalayan mountain range while listening to Indian music. I waved and smiled at all of the humble, hardworking people along the roads and watched their eyes light up as they waved back with excitement. When we arrived at our destination we were greeted by rays of sunshine. Before they even knew our names, they greeted us by bending down and touching our feet. This gesture is the highest act of respect in Hindu. My school is the only school to do this and they repeat the gesture each and every morning. It brings tears to my eyes to even think about it. Without saying a word, they make you feel important. They wrap their arms around not only your body, but your heart. I will never be able to capture or explain the way that these children make me feel. Austin Jenkins got as close as I will ever be able to by saying “They are joy.” 

Each morning the children hold an assembly that consists of poems, news, songs and prayer. They sing songs that YMAD teens have taught them and they are wearing clothes that YMAD has given them. These kids are so bright. They are actually learning the material I am teaching them. We are making a difference. We are changing lives. These children are going to go on to universities and get jobs. They are going to help pull their families out of poverty and they are going to be successful. However big or small the difference I am making in their lives, it does not even begin to compare to the difference they are making in mine. 

To my family, I am alive, well, and thriving! I didn’t realize how much I appreciate my family and the things in my life until I came here and was taught how to be genuinely happy. I miss you all and I will write again next week! I love you!

p.s. Mom I am learning how important you are to me and how right you are about lots of things…like drinking emergency.