JimTim Blogs? Say wha???
What a trip so far! Starting at the airport. The airport scene with all of us showed a ton of excitement and high energy. Kids anxious, parents same and perhaps somewhat nervous? And off we go. How many hours of travel? I lost track. Time was irrelevant. All we focused on was making our next flight. Our Delta flight was delayed, which carried forward. We were literally running through the San Fran airport like OJ to his rental car. The crazy thing was that the Singapore Air rep in high heels who was 'escorting' us was actually running ahead of us in high heels and we couldn't keep up with her! They lifted the security ropes for us so that we could get thru security to make the flight. They were closing the doors literally as the last one of us board the plane. Singapore Air is the Cadillac of the skies. Which also means then that Air India is the Yugo of the skies. What a contrast. Had to laugh at the duct tape on the seat arm rests. Hope their mechanics don't use that method in their repairs. It was great stepping off the plane in India! More excitement, anxiousness to get where we're headed. After the luggage was handled, we boarded a bus. Which exceeded expectations because I thought we were getting SUVs or trucks. The bus was sweet. Although hearing that instead of 4 hours to Jibhi was in actuality more like 11 was a bit difficult to hear. Our kids want to be there now! We stopped at a McDonalds (yep) for lunch. Which was a treat for all. We couldn't wait. While there, even traveling in the bus…i noticed that everyone, and I mean everyone, stares at us. So so many people here…cannot even describe how many people I see. Obviously the people here see few of us in their daily lives, it's so fun though to smile and wave and see their reactions and how they respond. The employees at McDonalds had us pose with them outside the restaurant with them for a photo. That was fun. By the way, to feed 37 of us all combo meals, extra food, desserts, and more…came to 7000 (or so) rupees. Or about $110. What a deal!
The bus ride was something else. I could write all day about it. Suffice it to say that it was a memorable experience. Took us about 10 hours to get to the drop point, then we got into SUV's to drive from there. About 50 minutes up a slow canyon road we arrived at Jibhi at about 11:30pm. Kids thrilled to be here. Comments like 'Can you believe we're actually here!?' and 'This is really happening!" Everyone so excited to get to the schools tomorrow.
Day 1 - we were driven to the school in an SUV. Up a 'road' that just cuts the mountain side. This place is amazing. It's like being in the Uintahs, except the mountains are terraced and homes cover the hillsides. People here have so little, get by with what little they have. When we arrived at the school, it was down the hillside from the road. As we got out of the car, we looked down to see the kids waving to us with glee. YMAD kids were here a year ago, so they know what to expect and have obviously been looking forward to this. Our kids just as excited to meet our new friends.
What a greeting!! They asked us to line up and the kids came to each of us and symbolically kissed each of our feet. So humbling. We played with them to get to know them, then began our teaching. What a learning experience for everyone. Connections happening immediately. The energy coming from these India kids is wonderful. So welcoming, so loving, so respectful. These kids are so smart! Learn so fast. So willing to learn even more.
We were in the sun all day. At 7500 feet elevation, air pretty thin. Just ask my forehead. Blistered by the end of the day. Yikes. Eyes swollen and burnt. Top of head swollen.Before this trip I was 6' 2". I should be measured now. I think I'm at least 6'3". All worth it.
Day 2 - even better than the first. Flew by. Took what we learned from yesterday and made changes to be better. My team, the Green Team, so incredible. Sam, Ruby (Rupee), Ellie (Blink), Sophie, Kaleb (K-Luv), and Jacob (Van Skyhawk!!!). They have such a synergy about them. And fun, loving, connecting spirits. Perfect for these kids in India. My kids are amazing to watch. I get to take care of the logistics, the photos, things like that. So I can watch my kids and as I do so I am inspired by them. You parents, relatives, friends, be proud. Your kids, mine for this expedition, are amazing.
As I type this, it's the morning of Day 3. I awoke yesterday at 4am. Today I slept in, awoke at 4:20am. We're having the experience of a lifetime. Know that this work, this opportunity, is sacred to us. To the kids in India. To all who are involved. In this expedition and in all expeditions. I'm blessed to be a small part of this one. Go Shaanti!!!
I love our YMAD kids. I love the leaders I serve with. I love the kids in India. The people in India. This is better than I even imagined.
I miss my family more than I can say. I would so love for them to be a part of this. Can't wait to share our stories, photos, and more with them. And with you.