Bamanugatchi, food and friends (Steve Neff)

I’m the “adult” leader of the green team.  I have Abby Hall, Ali Barrus, Isaac Robbins, Nat Hagen, Tori Brown and Whitney Bloomquist.  I want you to know that I love your teens.  We have a blast together. My son came last year and I wanted to know what he was doing every day.  So I want to spend some time telling you about our days.  We leave Nishita every morning at 7:30.  We drive to our village, Bamanugatchi by 8 when we start teaching.  Every morning at our school the kids sing their prayers before we get started.  The team has 5 lessons to teach every day,  One member of the team is the team leader.  The team leader gets the lessons started every morning, make sure that all the teen teachers have the necessary supplies, time the lessons so that all 5 lessons are taught in the time that is available to us, handle any discipline issues, basically it is their job to make sure that things go smoothly while teaching.  In our school, we teach from 8 to 9:30 am.

After teaching in the morning, we head out to tour the village.  In our village, we visit at least 7 houses a day.  This is more than in other villages.  It is enjoyable to meet lots of the villagers and experience a wide range of homes.  They see our visit as though we are their Lord coming to visit.  They really want to feed and care for us.  It is a little intimidating that they put out so much for us.  We don’t need a lunch because we eat so much.  We have been offered and have eaten: puffed rice, coconut, cucumber, guava, water fruit, various cookies and sweets with textures that are varied (1 sweet we ate tasted like sweetened cream of wheat that set up in a pan and is sliced, another felt like sweetened corn meal ball, one of our favorites was a sugar cream candy), we also get a wide variety of crackers that I can’t describe very well.  We do this until about noon when we go the Main Day Boarding School.

At the Main Day Boarding School (a girl’s school), we normally get to start teaching at about 12:45 and end around 4pm.  The girls at the school take a 45 minute lunch during that time.  Our teens teach and play with the girls.  It is wonderful to watch.  That is our day in a nutshell.

Let me describe your wonderful teens:

Abby Hall is the energy of our group.  She is full of bounce.  She connects really well with the kids we teach.  She cares a lot about the kids being friends and kind to each other.

Ali Barrus is so very sweet to all the kids.  She brings a sweet gentility to the team.  She did a fantastic job supporting the teaching teens on her day to lead.  She loves everybody and every thing in India.  She is very open and refreshing.

Isaac Robbins is a novelty for being so tall.. He has fun with the kids.  He is uninhibited and full of fun while teaching.  His class is usually the loudest and the most fun to watch.

Nat Hagen is the core of the team.  He is very respectful of the girls on the team.  He is always carrying an extra backpack or bag.  He wants to see everyone succeed.  He is great with the kids and irreplaceable in our team.

Tori Brown has us organized.  She packed our lessons for us in the US.  In India, she makes sure we can find and have what we need for our lessons.  She connects so well with her kids.  I love watching her read a book in her lessons as she displays wonderful facial expressions and joy.  She is so kind and caring to the kids.

Whitney Bloomquist knows her lessons.  She cares about keeping the kids on task.  Watching Whitney teach is amazing. Her kids are with her in rapt attention. She was a little worried about how to connect to kids.  She does a great job teaching and loving these kids.

Our team originally included Paul Huntsman.  We really miss him.  He was unable to join us due to Visa issues.  I hope you are well Paul.