Leopard Hunting -- Paige Burton

Namaste- “the divine in me recognizes the divine in you.”

Here is my attempt at putting my emotions into words after the cultural exchange we had on Saturday. Each of us got into the busses Saturday morning and traveled to each school and sang and danced for the kids. The part that stood out to me in each school was the song “We Shall Overcome.” All school children all over India have sung that song since the civil war. It’s a tradition that started with Ghandi. The lyrics repeat themselves and say “We shall overcome, we are not afraid, we stand hand in hand, and we shall live in peace.” It’s a sweet song that we learned the night before the cultural exchange. I felt a different spirit by the time we got to my school, Raisharan. When we arrived the whole town was there, dressed in their best outfits. Even Sapna, who only has the two outfits that are provided by the government, had an outfit that she had borrowed. They performed a folk dance, and after a bit we all joined in. A tear-jerking part was when the school boys sang a song to us that meant “now that we know you, how could we live without you.” When we sang the song “we will overcome” the children joined in. Saying goodbye that day was hard and I don’t know how I will physically get away from the kids tomorrow.

At my return celebration from my past expedition Allie Oniki put India into words that hit home. She reminded us of how Mother Theresa has looked at life as being for something rather than against. I am for India, I am for the rooster waking me up in the morning, I am for the cliffs and the constant horns. I am for the dogs that won’t stop barking at night and a roommate that won't stop snoring. I am for my stubbed toe and the late night talks on the roof. I am for this life-changing experience and for the love I feel here. I am for the inconsistent power and even for the spiders. I am for the leopard running in front of our car and the cockroaches. Everything here is making this experience amazing and I wouldn’t change anything. 

Nate and Kara: CONGRATS! Eleanor Jo is beautiful! I can’t wait to meet her.

Mason: I am so proud of your decisions and you will be an amazing missionary!

Mom and Dad: I hope you know how much I love you and how grateful I am for you raising me to be who I am. Without you I wouldn’t be here.