These kids and this place have my whole heart! by: Dyani Graves

In my school, Chansari, I have 48 kids whose names are out of this world. I am finally starting to remember their names that go with their cute little faces. Man, oh man is it a struggle. I tend to take the first 5-10 minutes of the class to go over their names and have them pronounce it to me slowly. Most of the kids will just mumble when pronouncing their names so it’s really just a guessing game at this point. Other kids will laugh because you are this strange white lady trying to pronounce a Hindi name. I am really proud to say I know all 48 names now! I’m probably still not pronouncing them right but hey at least I tried.


One little boy in particular is named Neeraj. He is a mischievous little rascal but he is so darn cute. Anyway, if I had to pick, he is definitely my hardest kid to teach. He is just so young and tends to lose interest very fast (unless you have jelly beans). I try different things to keep him engaged like having him hold my book while I read or having him draw but still nothing. It is really hard when you here to do one thing and this precious little 5-year-old makes it so difficult. It makes me feel as though I failed as a teacher. Maybe if my lessons were more fun, he would pay attention? Am I boring? What could I do differently? As I was asking myself these questions Neeraj came up to me and wanted me to hold him. I was over filled with joy to say the least. Gabby (one of my team members) was standing by me and I yelled at her to hurry and take a picture of me with Neeraj. She captured such a beautiful moment of Neeraj and Kanika laughing as I held them. I felt so much better and maybe just maybe I wasn’t completely failing.


India is amazing. The people are beautiful. The kids are spectacular. My village team is superb. I love it here and I love my YMAD family. I have made so many new connections with people I didn’t even know a year ago. While India is amazing and such a wonderful experience that I am so grateful to be a part of I really miss my family and friends back home. I can’t wait to share my amazing experience with all of you. To my mom, dad, and sister I love you all so much and can’t wait to see you! Mostly I miss my niece Rydian! Happy Birthday Goober I hope you had the best fancy Nancy cake!