India - A Delicate Dance Based on Love (Robert Baird)
I have traveled to India numerous times bringing students to rural villages in the Himalaya and the jungles of West Bengal. I love this work because I get to see first hand, the difference it makes in the lives of all who are involved at so many levels. YMAD teens lives are changed because they get to focus all of their energy for an extended period of time on someone other than them selves. The children in the schools and ashrams in India get to feel the love and attention from youth that are completely foreign to them. Both are elevated because of the common denominator, love. As these youth connect they perform at a higher level, YMAD teens know they are needed and intensify their teaching and on the other hand the school and ashram children intensify their focus to learn because of the necessity to get to know their new found friends. India is the perfect place for this experience to take place. The scenery, colors, smells, food and cultural differences expose the senses, making an indelible mark in the lives of of our participants. When you take this formula and add to it the personalities of all of the players it is clear to me there is one in control grater than us all.
On Saturday we experienced an amazing cultural event between several hundred youth from the Udipur Secondary School and YMAD. I was over come by the energy of the youth in the gathering and the love and support was shown from both sides. It bubbled over the top like a boiling pot of water completely saturating everyone there. No words can express how well we represented who we are and the love we feel for India. At one point we all put aside our pride and danced together in our own awkward way, youth, adults and government officials! The tearing down of walls and barriers that seperate us is exactly what this world needs more of! Yes, India is a Delicate Dance, based on Love and I am so happy to be here experiencing it!
Just one final note! We have the most amazing team of leaders, doctors and interns with us here in India! This experience would not happen with out them. I will be forever indebted for the personal resources and hundreds of hours they have spent, committed to creating this YMAD experience. We also would not be successful with out our support team in the US and India that make this program work. The names are far to many to list but know that you are loved and acknowledged. YMAD is far bigger than any individual, it is a community of committed, loving people that want to make a difference in the world of which I am so grateful to be a part!