John Stringham's Team
Before I forget, I am supposed to give a shout out to Fifi’s mom - Happy Birthday! On our first day, we talked on the way to our school about a one word theme for our day. That first day we decided that the word would be “love”. That theme hasn’t changed from our first day and I anticipate it will continue to be our theme for the rest of the trip. I have seen and felt the love for and from our students. I have felt the love for and from all of our team. The love we have for our students overcomes the unfamiliar assault on our senses, which is India.
Our assigned school is Siharal School. It is one of the smaller schools with only 17 students. Having a smaller school has given us a wonderful gift. Our ratio is about 4 to 5 kids per team teacher. Because of the fewer number, we only needed name tags for the first day and then all the kids names were memorized. It has allowed us to become close to each child and get to know them at a more personal level.
I have been so proud of my team as they have taught each of these children. Kids are coming back each day having learned more english and their smiles melt our hearts. Each member of our team has contributed so much to a successful week of teaching. Porter’s enthusiasm has all the boys chasing after him and wanting another high five. Lacey’s singing has them all entranced. Fifi’s smile and laughter is immediately contagious. Brooke’s wonderful heart and peaceful soul encourages them while they learn. And Katherine’s nurturing talent and fun personality has them all engaged. It is a magical team.
Our translator, Kanta, completely fits our team and has become an intimate member and friend I am sure we will have for life. The kids are already trying to convince her to visit America so they can introduce her to their families.
Tonight in the blind and deaf school I couldn’t get the kids to leave and I couldn’t get the students to stop engaging with our kids. All of our kids were suddenly learning sign language and everyone was teaching each other. As I tried to pull them from the school, I could see the students asking if we would come back tomorrow. They seem to enjoy us being there almost as much as we enjoy being with them.
One down side is that our team has fallen for an Indian rock song and keep asking to have it played every day. The driver, however, doesn’t understand that they just want to hear the song, so he just keeps playing the song over and over for the entire drive. As you might expect, the team is learning every word of the song, so don’t be alarmed when your child gets off the plane speaking Hindi, but with a beat. I, on the other hand, at first liked the song too, but am slowly going crazy - which will continue until I can learn how to say in Hindi, “another song please”.
We are having a wonderful time and learning a great deal. We are all growing tremendously from this experience. Everyone in our team is healthy and happy. Your kids are great and I am blessed to be with them and for this uniquely wonderfulexperience. I am already fighting back tears for the day we have to leave our little school in the mountains.