Jeffrey Rawlins

First time bloggers. Apparently they forgot about me. But anyway, as I’m sure you’ve been reading, today was our last day with the children. It was... interesting, to say the least. Of course, we all loved them and were very sad to say goodbye. Most cried, although I didn’t, which means I’m either confused, in denial, bottled up, or heartless. Just hoping it’s not the last one. Anyway, as the others have written, this has been a fantastic experience. It certainly was satisfying to see these children with so many new supplies. It’s funny how in America, happiness brought by new stuff is seen as materialistic, but here where there is so very little, it makes perfect sense. Of course, the argument could be made that the happiness was really brought by the charity of the youth here, our leaders, the natives here who have been so very helpful (such as Raj, Sandeep, and our translators) and obviously those who donated to the organization to make it all possible. I’ll leave that one to the philosophers. But it hasn’t just been today that made a difference- at least, I hope not. It is my sincere hope that this has been one of the most special weeks of their lives. Thinking of all the fun we’ve had, all that they’ve learned, all of the different ways of learning they’ve encountered, the time we’ve spent with them, and just the knowledge that someone cares... I hope that all of that is what really made a difference. Because if that didn’t, I don’t know what would be in my power to do that could.
 
In other news, today was my first day doing laundry in a bucket. And as soon as my brother (who served an LDS mission in the Philippines) reads that, he’ll be laughing at me. But it’s hard! Long, arduous, inefficient, and can I just realize that I never knew how much strength laundry could require from all that wringing. It took so much time that I ran out of sunlight before I even got to my second load, which means my first load probably won’t even dry and I still don’t have all my clothes clean for travel tomorrow. Sigh. Live and learn, eh?
 
Speaking of travel, I have mixed feelings for the rest of trip. Of course, this is the longest I’ve been away from home without my family, so you could say that I’m a bit homesick. I would say more that it was travel fatigue, but that’s a technicality only I could care about. The other thing is that, given that today was the last day with the children, then I have the feeling of being done. Mission accomplished, right? So why linger? Add to that that given I’m here on charitable dollars, I feel like every cent (or rupee) needs to be spent wisely. But, there is the anticipation of the Tajmahal, the Amber Fort, and elephant riding, so it’s quite a collection of mixed feelings.
 
We’re starting small by spending tomorrow in Kulu, which is where we drove here from, which is about two hours away. We’ll be spending a bit of time in a blind school, which should be very fascinating, and then of course, I’ll be doing the bulk of my souvenir shopping (which I probably over think way too much, but then again I over think everything too much, so it seems about right). But I must say, what I’m most looking forward to is spending time in an actual hotel. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to spend a night in a place with four walls in my entire life.
 
Well, I should be heading to bed. I think I may be keeping Blake up. And I’m cold because my sandals are all wet. I blame the laundry bucket.