A Life Worth Living - Jace Anderson

_JKC3130 Sitting here in Darjeeling, one of the most beautiful places on earth, all I can think is that I want to go back to Baruipur. This beauty is nothing compared to that of every child we taught. Watching the sun rise over some of the most majestic mountain peaks, all I can wonder is how far away are my girls and are they doing alright? The sun may shine bright, but it is nothing compared to the smiles of my kids. I call them my kids because that's exactly what they are to me. I have never cared about anyone as much as I do for every child in my village and the day boarding school. I sit and just think about them, worrying about what their futures hold, knowing that I did my best to impact their lives, and hoping that I will make it back someday.

This past week has changed my life and I am absolutely sure that the lives of numerous children have been changed as well. I can't give specifics, but I know that we provided at least one girl with the confidence to stand up against the evils of this world.

YMAD does make a difference. I don't care what anyone else says. It is simply something that you can't explain and I'm so sad that so few people get to experience this. If any of you are out there and even considering  applying for YMAD, stop hesitating and questioning! This is a chance that you simply cannot pass up. I am so grateful for the changes in my life that have come from this organization. I am grateful for the relationships that I have built. Yes, you do create some amazing friendships with the other teens, but the children are the real reason to go on this journey. You bond with them so easily and become so close in such a short amount of time. I have learned so much in India and I know that my life is better because of it.

This is an experience that only those who have been will understand. I am so glad that I have my YMAD teammates to talk to, and also especially for my sister, Marissa. Marissa, thank you so much for making a leap of faith with YMAD. It is because of you that I am here and because of you that my life is better. You have always been someone that I've looked up to and I can't wait to share my experiences with you.

You will all have to be patient with me when I return. One of the many things I learned about myself is that I'm a crier. Who knew? To be honest, I've cried more in a 3 day span this week than I have in the past 5 or more years of my life. These kids have opened me up better than anyone ever has. I am proud and so happy to say that I was able to open up a few of them as well.

I'm extremely sad that this journey is coming to a close but I'm so happy and grateful that I was able to experience this. Sorry to take your words, Alek, but my prayers will never be the same. I will forever remember the people of India, their struggles and hospitality. Goodbye India, and thank you so much. I am forever in your debt.