Life Map- Samye Snell

Writing a post is hard because I am at a loss of words. We have had the most eventful and incredible week. It's hard to believe it has already been that long! Over the weekend we finished our manual labor service project, we went on a drive that felt like a high speed chase around switchbacks in the Himalayan mountains of Kullu, we went to an Indian wedding reception and learned how to dance, we had a traditional dinner sitting on the floor being served by beautiful women, and we said goodbye to our school. How can I possibly write about all of those events and everything in-between?

One thing I can say is that our team has set the bar high for all YMAD operations. I was only able to teach twice so I felt like the YMAD mom watching everyone else light up the kid's and teacher's faces. Being a leader has taught me how valuable the connections we form with others are. Raj has spread his wisdom throughout our team and I'd like to share some of that because it has inspired me to believe in the things we are doing and celebrate life. Raj said, "There are all types of people around the world, but there also the same type of people. We speak the same language." I told Raj what I have been going through and he shared his wisdom about everyone's "life map." Raj said that life is a game and once we learn how to play the game we can be happy. Raj is an amazing leader, example, and babysitter. We all need a Raj on our lives.

Being here has made me feel present and I have finally found a way to live in the moment. As humans we try to be genuine, but we forget to take care of ourselves sometimes. The kids we taught didn't have the means to take care of ourselves in the same ways we might think of, but they were beaming with light and exemplified humbleness. We passed out hygiene kits and education kits and the kids were trying to hide their joy from us, but it was such a big deal to them. Things so simple- deodorant, toothpaste, glue, and new colored pencils were such a big deal to the kids. It's moments like these that are meant to be celebrated and cherished. 

At the end of the day the kids performed songs and dances for us and we were able to sing the YMAD song "One Day" for them. It was an emotional moment and it felt like time stopped and we were living in simplicity and it could go on forever. Our time with the kids was amazing and it went beyond our lessons to the kids. Throughout the week there were six student teachers at the school shadowing before taking their final exams and they were constantly listening to lessons and taking notes. We were intimidated at first and didn't know what they were writing or observing, but our translators shared they had told them how good of a job we were doing. The student teachers wore the same outfits and smiles every day to school. It is inspiring to see the excitement and passion in the eyes of new teachers. At the end of the day the Madam of the school shared how the teachers were inspired by our methods of teaching and they wanted to practice it themselves. This made all the difference. The things we were teaching were reaching beyond the kids and grasping the teachers hearts.

My second time in India has exceeded all expectations. Take the time to read through our blogs to get to know our incredible team. To my family, I love and miss you all. Thank you for supporting me and always being my biggest fan. I cannot wait to see you with new lenses and share my experiences with you. 

With love and gratitude, Samye