Lessons Learned

Wow I cannot get enough of the kids, honestly Im dreading saying bye to them because I have grown to love them so so much. Today we took the House of Learning Girls into town to the market to buy them clothes and they were so happy and grateful and just loved the chance to walk around their town holding our hands. I have created a special bond with Ankita and love her so much. We are supposed to have been teaching the girls but every time I interact with them I feel like I am the one who learns more from them. The way they look out for each other teaches me selflessness, the way they find joy in the most simple things teaches me about happiness, when they laugh at my attempts at Hindi it teaches me to not take myself so seriously and to learn from my mistakes but also not to give up. Their dedication and willingness to learn is an example to me and teaches me to treasure learning, how they say thank you and “welcome” whenever someone does something for them, whether its one of us or one of their peers, teaches me gratitude and the importance it has in my life and lastly their willingness to love us teaches me about the necessity to accept every single person despite preconceived ideas, consequentially I am reading a Steinbeck called East of Eden and there is a quote that says, “You are one of the rare people who can separate your observation from your preconception. You see what is, where most people see what they expect.” This line really impacted me and made me think if I have let preconceived notions cloud my judgement and vision. When you travel to a foreign country you have many ideas and expectations about how the experience will turn out or what other people have told you will happen but I have found that to maximize my experience it is best to expect nothing because then you can be wonderfully surprised or adventurously disappointed in the outcomes without becoming frustrated or upset. I have had to be flexible in my lessons and teach in a way that was most beneficial to the students instead of how I learned it, or thought it should be taught. I have also learned the beautiful lesson that you can communicate so much without language, it has been frustrating at times to try to communicate specific words or phrases but I have been able to communicate the broad purpose of my lessons and created a meaningful relationship with the children in my school and also with the House of Learning Girls even though it is easier with them because of their English comprehension. Today we also gave out hygiene kits to the children in the primary schools and it was entertaining to teach them about the hygiene kits. Getting things like soap, shampoo and washcloths is like Christmas morning for them and they were so proud of their bags full of hygiene supplies, blankets and their brand new shoes. It is incredible that hygiene supplies that were accumulated during a bar crawl in Salt Lake City are now being used to help children in Chamba India, in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains. It is cool how people all over the world can be simultaneously connected despite the millions of miles, dozens of languages, and separate cultures that are associated with every person that inhabits this earth.

- Steph

STeph pic
STeph pic
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