A New Love - Abby Robles
The moment this trip became real for me was in the car ride on our way from Chadnigar to Sunder Nagar, India. After over twenty four hours of traveling, our car ride to Sunder Nagar was my first exposure to India. The streets were crowded with cars, honking loudly and weaving in between traffic, wild dogs running the streets and poverty was prominent, everywhere. Never have I seen a more deprived yet more beautiful place. Everyday, I see children running and laughing, dancers moving and singing, vendors selling their colorful foods and all of them waving to me as I pass. The people here have this bold way of looking directly into my eyes, even when I’m just looking out the car window. They search my eyes and try to understand me from a simple glance. All the smells, the filth, the sights, the people, I love it. I’m in love with this country.
! Everyday, my village team and I venture to our school, “Bagra”, and teach the kids English all day. I’m teamed up with Bekah, Heather, Sid and Matt and we make an amazing team. For us, the first day was the hardest. Teaching is harder than we ever had imagined. We came in assuming the children knew basic English and to work off what they know, but our kids didn’t know any English. So with time and experimenting, we’ve adapted our workshops to the kids and used all our skill sets we could to make it as fun and meaningful as possible! Later in the day, we teach English at the blind and deaf school. This is where we really had to adapt and think on our toes. My team works with six deaf girls every day and they are adorable. They’re beautiful and incredibly bright. One girl, Nisha, has the biggest smile I’ve ever seen and a laugh that would melt any heart. Whenever she learns something, Nisha giggles loudly and heartily, so content and over-joyed with her new discovery. I wish she knew what her laugh sounded like, because it makes everyone happier around her.
! Despite the language barrier with all my kids, it’s astonishing how well we communicate together. I’ve learned a whole new language here. It’s not Hindi nor English, but more like a language of the heart. I’ve learned how to comfort and understand these kids without words. We understand each other by our eyes, gestures, holding hands tight and long hugs. When words fail and you can’t fall back into your comfort zone or cliches, you just get to the root of who you really are. We’re all one big family. My kids, our translators, my team, the people, everyone here has taught me a new love... and I couldn’t be more blessed. :)
! When it gets down to it, I have one thing I really want to leave with you. True happiness is in service to your fellow man. Never have I been more happy than I have been here, serving the people of India. Everyday I think, “This is the best day of my life.” and every day, it gets better. Serve everyone you can, because when you lose yourself in the service of another’s life, it is the greatest happiness in the world.
! Hope everything is great back home. Mom, I miss you and don’t worry, (because I know you do), everything is wonderful here. Thanks for all the support and I love you all!
P.s: HAPPY BIRTHDAY JONAH!