JAYNE'S BEST DAY EVER!!

Hey there, today was not our typical day of joy and love. Today was the day of tears, can you believe it came this fast? Yeah.. neither can I! But you have to wait to hear about it because I decided to write about Sunday first. Yesterday was our Cultural Exchange. It began with the miracle of sleeping in! Eventually we arrived at the DBS where everyone met in the prayer room/temple. The program started with us taking a yoga class, then a few solos by some of the school girls, a duo by two of the translators from my village, another solo or two, then we did our songs and dances and it ended with a....nice... modern piece and each of the cultures singing their National Anthems!

After the exchanges we had a crazy dance party to Indian Pop music! The girls went absolutely wild. They clapped and cheered after every song, even if it was cut off early. Let me tell you, that room was blasted hot! A lot of us were whimpy and had to go cool down outside but those girls were jammin’ away the whole time! We turned on some of our pop music but that only last for two songs because the girls didn’t enjoy it as much.

What a crazy time! Later we stopped by Mimi’s(our Nishta representative) before a shopping trip. They gave us some.. Indian food that I don’t know how to explain, it’s like spicy potatoes with a crusted crust over all of it. It was tasty! But my mouth was on fire. Now comes the best part of the whole night. After breathing flames, they gave us..ICE CREAM and boy was it delicious! It was butterscotch and it was the most delightful thing of the whole trip.

Next we went shopping. Let me tell you the reasons I don’t love shopping in this joint.. 1. Because it’s super busy, like Time Square. 2. Because the roads are little and every second is a near death experience. 3. Because all of the stores are blowing hot air instead of cold and 4. Because I hate shopping without you mom! (How am I ever going to grow up?) So I bet you can guess I didn’t purchase anything, but some of the guys got cricket bats, some people got jewelry and I don’t know what else! Walking along the streets and alley ways at night is the most terrifying thing for me, but everyone else is brave so it’s okay. That’s Sunday.
MONDAY: The day of tears. We started by going to our village schools. We spent our time playing games. I was in charge of the parachute which the kids absolutely adore even though they can’t do anything too special with it. The only problem was after they’d lift it up and down so many times half the kids would have dust in their eyes, mouths and up their noses! They all went crazy over it though. At the village school today I also got to jump rope for the first time in ages.. I struggled at first but improved after a few hops but I did learn that jump roping isn’t one of my best talents. We ended our village visit by handing each of the kids some gifts and going on one final home visit. No more raw coconut and puffed rice! (I probably shouldn’t speak too soon.)

Next we arrived at the DBS for the last time. Girls were already crying when we showed up! We ate our lunch and just hung out with the girls until their lunch time. We all have hena on our hands or feet now! The day went by fast because soon their lunch time came, and after that it was time to say bye. We took pictures and met in the prayer room where every single girl in that school broke down. I held up just fine without tears until my bud Mithu came up to me with wet, puffy eyes and then it was my turn to cry along with the girls. Who knew it was possible to fall in love with these kids in one week, language barrier and all? They were all so accepting and full of love. They were constantly bringing us candy and little gifts, even when they have so little. It’s amazing how important we were to these girls. When I got out of the flooded prayer room, I found the highlight of my trip, Sudip. Of course he was going around like a little hoodlum and had really no idea what was going on. He softened my mood for a minute but when I picked him up the tears started coming back and he looked at me with his big eyes, made one of his pouty faces, kissed my cheek and nodded his head, “no, no, no.” He wouldn’t let go for a while and when he did I rushed to the car to make things easier. Soon enough he appeared in the car! Before he got pulled out I said, “I love you!” And he says, “I love you!” back in his little voice. Cute kid.

When the day started, my village group told Stewy that next year they shouldn’t tell the teens when their last day with kids is and one night say, that was the last day at the schools, we’re going home tomorrow (or to Tiger Camp, whatever applies) so that they don’t have to experience the day of sadness because goodbyes are the most difficult experiences! Especially when you know it’s coming.

Don’t worry, we’re stoked for Tiger Camp!
(Sorry this picture is blurry, but that’s Mithu.)

Love you, miss you!

Jayne Verhaaren