Maggie LaStayo

Our third day of being with the girls just came to an end, and the realization that the week is going to be over soon really just hit us hard.  Every single one of us has created bonds so quickly and the girls’ places in our hearts grow bigger every second of every day.

Last time around I found myself drawn to the boys at the school we taught at, and I was a bit nervous about having the same sort of bond with the girls of all different ages.  But it is seriously impossible to not become best friends with them all.  I have never met people so willing to open their hearts and minds to each and every one of us.  They call us their sisters, their best friends, and the people they love.

Whenever they are handed a piece of paper you can always find these phrases randomly written on the borders or wherever they have room, “I love you, and I miss you.”  They always make it a point that we see what they have written, they want to make us proud and they want us to know that they truly are learning from us.

As expected, there are the few I have fallen madly in love with.  Those girls for me are Soni, and Saroj.

From day one I found myself drawn to Soni.  She has the most amazing smile I have ever seen in my entire life.  Although she isn’t among the oldest of the girls, she has some of the best English and has charmed every single one of us YMAD kids.  She makes it a point to always be holding my hand, sitting on my lap, or taking pictures with me.  Some of the girls here have sisters at the ashram with them, and I was asking them if they did and if so who they were. Once I got to Soni she responded with a “Yes, I have a sister here.” And I asked her who, and she quickly came with her response and pointed at me and said “YOU!”.  The fact that she considers me as a sister, and even a best friend, touches my heart more than I ever thought possible.  I can’t wait to spend the next few days with her and create memories that will last myself, and her for a lifetime.

This one goes out to some of my best friends in the entire world, Greg and Megan Davis.  I have heard countless stories of their trips to India and got to come with them both my senior year.  They have met an immense amount of children here and still have always had one that touched them the most, and that is Saroj.  The second James pointed her out to me I knew she would become one of my best friends.  I went up to her and told her that I was friends with Greg and Megan and she was immediately open to talking to me the entire day.  As each day comes she becomes more and more outgoing.  She has this attitude about her that is like no other person I have ever met except Megan.  It’s amazing to see how much alike they are, and how we meshed from the moment we met.  Feeling her little fingers crawl into mine, and the strength and warmth of her hugs is something I will never be able to forget.    And to Greg and Megan, that girl loves you more than words could ever describe.  You have given her the gift of love and she returns it in every sense by welcoming each of us into her heart, but she will be forever yours.  I can’t wait to come home and talk about her for hours while eating Megan’s delicious treats.

I seriously could talk about these girls for hours on end, but I figure I’ll leave that up to the conversations for when we get home.  Just know that these are the most amazing people I have ever met, and I am most definitely forever changed.   I love them all, and I really don’t want to have to say goodbye.