Brett Palmer- Last day in the schools
I seriously don't even know where to start in attempting to blog about our experience. There is way too much to try to explain and words and pictures just don't do it the proper justice. (Plus it's nearly midnight.)
What an incredible day: sad, hard, amazing, soul-changing, happy and joyful, fulfilling, culmination, exhausting, uplifting, heart-wrentching and heart-satisfying to name just a few. How can one day be all that and more - that is YMAD in India for ya!
Today we said goodbye to our schools and ashrams (orphanages) which explains a lot of the complete package of emotions. I have not ever seen that many 17-18 year olds bawling as they said goodbye to these beautiful children we have come to love and have so deeply touched and changed our hearts.
All the village teams got to hand out most of their gifts, supplies, etc. today before we said goodbye. Today my team was able to give until their hearts finally burst with joy and satisfaction. We gave school supplies, cricket bat and balls, soccer ball, jump ropes, beanies, gloves, socks (to our school), coats (to our ashram), beanie babies, pennies on a string, file folder games/education pack, poppers, and photos of us with the kids from our school and ashram. It was better than Christmas not just because we were Santa for a day, but because it was the icing on the cake of how these twenty-six teenagers have become true leaders and selfless adults that are making a difference in this little mountainous nook of the world and in themselves.
We all (the YMAD team and the schools and ashrams) are better people after this exchange of love, service, compassion and dedication.
Thank you parents for supporting and encouraging your youth this year. Thanks Bairds and Gretta. Thanks to my kids Josh, Abbie, Sarah. Adam and Seth for letting your mom and dad disappear to India for two weeks. Thanks baby sitters. Thanks Raj and the team of local Indian YMADers that make this all happen.