"'Goodbyes Stink' - Michael Scott" -- Brandon Cragun

Well Mom, this is about as much emotion as you’ll get out of me for at least two weeks, so soak it in. Today was our last day at our school, Dansa, and it was exhausting. After spending six days teaching and playing with the kids in our village it was finally time to say goodbye. Since this was my second rodeo I thought I was prepared for the pain that I was in for. Little did I know how deep the kids have come into my heart, and it hurt just as much.

One girl from our school is named Archna. She is super smart, but doesn’t usually show a lot of outward emotion. I guess you could say she was my spirit animal. On Saturday at the cultural exchange I was finally able to crack into her shell and she became super comfortable and affectionate towards me, always wanting to hold my hand. Madi always joked that she would not much care when we left because of how well she hid her feelings. I’ll never forget the smiles she’d shoot me across the courtyard, how she would always run to me, and the tears that we shed in our final embrace. 

If there’s one thing I’ve taken from this trip is the impact that YMAD does have. Whether it's standing and watching the kids incorporate Jellyfish and Heads, Shoulders, Knees and Toes into their morning prayers or seeing the smiles when we play games or they get vocab words right, I can go home and say that I made a difference. Somehow the kids in India love you completely unconditionally and in the span of seven days, less than 30 hours, they dig their way into your hearts for the rest of your life. My heart will always be in Dansa.