Finally Home - Rachel Rawlings

Rachel's Photo Rachel's Photo #2 I am finally home. I made it. My parents would tell me I’m crazy if I told them that I refer to India as a home. While I don’t find the traditional comforts of my American home here—an unlimited supply of clean water, a flushing toilet, a reliable source of clean food—I find more basic comforts. Instead of clean water, I find Indian children eager to learn English. Instead of a flushing toilet, I find abandoned children yearning for attention. Instead of clean food, I find dilapidated schoolhouses in need of fixing. I find a comfort here in Chamba, India knowing that our team is doing our very best to provide opportunities for the people we are working with. I find comfort in the overwhelming amount of love that exudes from every individual as we teach each day. That love is what makes this home. This is Chamba: my second home.

It is difficult to describe the feelings that came over me as I was reunited with the Temple girls once again this year. It feels as if a piece of my heart that I forgot was missing for the past eleven months was replaced. There was a moment of perfection when I saw those girls—Monika, Soni, Saroj, Kritika, Champa—coming through the doorway of the YMAD House. As I embraced them one by one, a sense of wholesomeness took over. These girls hold a piece of my heart that is larger than I had known.

After talking with Raj about the background of the Mountain Girls that we would be working with, I had a mental image of savage-like, rugged teenagers coming to learn English. When we met the girls and I saw their beautiful faces, I knew that I was wrong. Although many of them wore dirty, shabby clothing, all that I could see were bright smiles and sparkly eyes. I know that each of these girls has a unique and complex story. I probably won’t ever learn the details of what they’ve been through. Even after one day of teaching, I have seen serious progress in many of the girls’ English abilities. I know without a doubt that our team is making a difference. I know that these girls will remember their experience with Team Hanuman for the rest of their lives.