Maggie LaStayo

Fourth Times The Charm

Although my experiences here are sometimes quite similar and the stench of garbage and curry never seem to change; this time around has become a bit different for me.  Different, yet nothing short of amazing.

We just left Jibhi after a successful four days teaching thirty-six astounding young girls.  So many different great lessons were taught, performances were had, and bonding experiences were made. The days go as according to schedule as we can make them, all three meals are eaten, and we have all made our way tucked into our bug infested beds with a smile on our face thinking about the new things we have learned that day.  Yet this time I’m smiling for a different reason.

I have watched our team grow in so many ways I don’t think I will ever truly be able to describe it.  Every single team member has stepped into roles that I thought I would have to fill on my own, or with Nick’s help.  I never have to ask for a helping hand, if I turn to my right there is always someone asking what needs to be done.  Although I monitor the schedules and make sure supplies are accounted for, this expedition team has made my job as Program Director a breeze.  Every single team member is willing to go along with the unexpected changes, whether it be a switch in the teaching schedule or an unpredicted large spider friend crawling on the side of our snack box, I haven’t heard a single complaint.  Needless to say, our team rocks.

As well as running the tedious things that need to be done, I still get the great experiences of getting to sit in on lessons and work with some of the girls.  Just as always, the eagerness to learn is inspiring and humbling to me.  Even though I may not have had to experience I’m used to, with gaining a particular new best friend or having a specific moment that stands out to me, it doesn’t even matter. Watching everyone else understand and gain the emotions as to why I come back time and time again is all I could ever need.  This group is amazing and I know that they will walk away with a whole country of beautiful new best friends.

Goodbyes were hard as predicted, there was definitely more than a couple tears shed, but everyone walked away knowing that they, and we as a team, made a difference.  Watching the girls leave carrying their brand new shoes, education kits, hygiene kits, and folders full or art projects and schoolwork from our past four days was physical evidence that we had given something to the group we taught.  But of course, with me getting pretty much just as sentimental as I can get, I have to say we gave them so much more.  They walked away with a hope and a love that is special to each and every one of them.  With strong hearts and all the desire in the world, I know they were inspired.  And of course in return, a love I personally know cannot be replaced by anything else in the world.

I can’t wait for you all to hear about your families or friends experiences here on this journey.  You should be SO extremely proud of each and every one of them.  Our team is a perfect example of what a melting pot of people can bring to the table.  I wouldn’t change anything for the world in this exact moment here in India.

Here we go on another four days teaching another amazing group of girls. I can’t wait to see what they have in store for us.