Bryce Jolley's Team

The third day of teaching these sweet children in India continues to be an amazingly fulfilling experience.  As a leader, it's so great to watch the growth and change of both the children we are teaching and the children that are doing the teaching.  So much happens on a daily basis that it's hard to pull out only a few highlights. Anyway, our school, Bagra, is the smallest school of the ones we go to.  We have had anywhere from 9 to 14 children attend depending on the day.  It's holiday time here and some children are away or kept home.  The school is a one room cement walled area with a cement floor.  The walls are white and void of anything inspiring.  The children sit on mats on the floor in rows eager to be taught.  The only light comes in through open windows but the are eager to learn.

The first day Abbie took the lead and taught the kids about feelings and emotions.  Being a very expressive actress, she could act out anything for the children and, even though there is a language barrier, they would understand what she was talking about.  She has a great enthusiasm for the children and the country and it shows in all she does.  Each day we sing songs or play games including playing "Duck, Duck, Goose" and Down by the River" and I love to see all the teenagers, but especially Sid, get into these games and make them so fun.  She has them running, screaming and laughing.  As the only young man on our team, Matt has a great way of connecting with the boys that are in the class.  He had everyone playing with a parachute and then doing outdoor sports and doing things these children have never done.  After leaving our school in the mornings, we have been doing our cultural exchange program for one of the schools each day.  We will be doing Bagra tomorrow but the past two days they performed for the larger schools and did such a great job.  We have a very talented group who do really well in these productions.  Rebecca and Abbie take the lead in a few of the numbers and, after today, Rebecca made a new boyfriend.  He is about 5 years old and was smitten with Rebecca and would hardly leave her side.  I know she's trying to figure out how to fit him in her bag coming home.

After the cultural exchange, we've had the opportunity to then go to a school for deaf and blind girls.  You would think that adding a handicap to the mix of teaching would be harder but our kids found it easier.  These sweet girls have already learned to extend themselves to communicate and our team has fallen for these girls and made a real connection.  Today Abbie had them so excited to try sour candies, sweet candies and salty pretzels as she taught about the various senses.  We rolled out long strips of paper and had the girls lay down while we traced an outline of their bodies and then wrote the various parts on them.  Afterward, Heather, was letting a couple of the girls use her camera to take "selfy" pictures on her camera and the girls screamed with joy watching what they were able to do.  I think Heather has found a real connection with these girls.  If fact, all our team has dug deep and found a way to give of themselves and focus on making the lives of others, who have so little, that much better.  We hope to spend the next couple of days working on improving the learning setting for our Bagra kids.  We hope to paint the room a bright color, maybe get them desks to sit at or help being a couple of improvement projects.  They need electricity in the room, a place to play outside and a permanent bathroom. They currently go up the hill behind a tarp for simple bathroom visits and walk much further to a neighbors yard to use a regular restroom.

So many things like this we take for granted.  As we drive to and from our schools the conversation is often about the roaming dogs and cows, the filth lining the streets and the mass of humanity that seems to lack direction.  All this is nestled in between gorgeous mountains with breathtaking views and a people that are so happy with their lives that they don't seem to lack anything. Today we passed out hygiene kits that were prepared before hand and the look on the children's faces was priceless.  They were so thrilled to receive these packets and knew they were just for them.  Rebecca brushed her teeth with each one demonstrating what to do to brush properly.  I think she will have the cleanest teeth for a while. Each day is a new experience that teaches us great lessons.  We are so blessed at home with so many things and I have been blessed here to get to know my team and watch them catch the vision of what a difference they can make in the world when they get outside themselves and their lives, they focus on making the lives of others that much  better.  Thanks for this opportunity!  It's a great ride.

Bryce Jolley