My YMAD Blog - Maddie Smith

If I had one wish after this expedition, I would wish that the encompassing feeling of pure joy given from both the children in the schools, the rest of the teens, and leaders would be able to stay with me forever. Although this trip is not yet over, and we’ve all experienced some type of “shindia,” the only way to describe my experience so far would be life changing, eye opening, and pure. On the bus ride home from the school today, Abby shared something that I hope stays with me when I return home and long after. She shared how amazing it was that even though we don’t speak the same language and have many differences in cultures, lifestyles, and ages, we are able to make a very special and meaningful connection with the children in India. This has taught me the importance of accepting those who are different from us in every aspect of our lives whether they live down the street or in a completely different country around the world. It is through acceptance and understanding in which this connection can be made.


            The first day driving to the schools, I was so anxious to teach. Even with the nine months of preparation prior to our expedition, I felt so unqualified and that the children deserved someone better than me as a teacher. The moment that I walked up those steps and saw those kids, feelings of doubt and anxiety quickly went away and were replaced with feelings of joy and excitement. It has really been so fun spending time with the kids in my school and seeing their unique personalities blossom from day to day. I truly have experienced firsthand the authentic and real love that the children in Peecha as well as my peers have for one another during this expedition! I’ve been trying to remember some phrases that have been shared and here are some of my favorites. “Bucket showers are oddly empowering”-Paige Case. “India is magically chaotic”-Chris. One of my all-time favorites however has been “Live in the moment and be present.” I feel like this phrase has really been the motto of our expedition and has helped me take everything in and make it the best that I can. I know for a fact that I will never forget everything I’ve felt, thought, saw, and heard on this YMAD expedition and can’t wait to share it all when I return home!