Today was harder than I thought it would be. Coming into this I did not think I would fall in love with these girls like James and Rachel warned me. Today was our last full day with the girls and even though we have one more day, it’s not the same. Today all I thought about was how I’m supposed to say goodbye to these girls that have taken a piece of my heart that no one will ever replace. These girls are smart, beautiful, funny, and so loving. They deserve the absolute best and I worry that when we’re not here, they won’t get it. I wish these girls could come to America and I could show them off to my friends and family. All 26 have become my best friends and sisters. I have especially become close to 3: Heena, Kritika, and Saroj. Heena is new to the orphanage but adapted to the YMAD scene so quickly. The first day she was shy and barely spoke but I instantly fell in love. She is known as the girl that NEVER stops smiling. I can’t even count how many times she had tripped and fell or she has run into the door and yet she’s still smiling. Most of the girls in the ashram have parents but the parents can’t afford to take care of them, however Heena doesn’t have any. Hearing this breaks my heart because someone with that much love and happiness in her heart deserves to be happy and to be loved. One of the days I made her a bracelet and when I gave it to her she just smiled and ran off and I thought “shoot I hope she understands I worked hard on that and made that for her because I love her.” Then the next day she came running up to me and gave me a bracelet that she made during one of the workshops. Knowing that she understood that I gave her that because I love her and having her give one to me in return because she loves me is the best feeling. I hope someone wanting to adopt is reading this because Heena is your girl. She doesn’t speak a ton of English and is shy during workshops but watching her you can physically see that she is trying so hard to understand and learn. She will mouth the words and sound them out as she reads and writes just to make sure she understands. Seeing her progression is definitely a positive thing but negative at the same time, because seeing how much she has learned in one week makes me want to stay and teach her all year long. Kritika is a little angel as well. She is so stinking cute! She makes these faces and has so much sass I love it so much. She is in the younger group of girls as well. Heena is 8 and Kritika is 9. Saroj is 12 and is definitely one of the cutest girls from the older group. She has so much attitude and acts sassy but the second she gives you a hug and shows her loving side she is so sweet. On the first day she came up to me and gave me a bracelet without me even asking. Knowing she was thinking of me makes me so happy because I love her so much.
Today we got our pantsuits and they’re all so cute. Oh but wait, the tailor gave me puff sleeves. So if anybody needs an Indian prom dress from the 80s, I have one! Just kidding I love it. Everyone looks so cute in theirs, I’m excited to wear it tomorrow and then when we get off the plane. I’m so sad we have to leave Friday! Its weird how you have personal problems at home and the second you get here and work with these girls they are put into the back of your mind and completely forgotten about. I haven’t checked Facebook, Instagram or even talked to any of my friends on this trip and I haven’t thought about it once, where as at home I am constantly.
One lesson I’ve learned here is that no matter how much I have, Ill never forget to always keep on giving. These girls have taught me this lesson first hand. One thing we brought on this expedition is string for the girls to make bracelets, thinking that they’ll make tons for themselves and be happy that they have pretty bracelets. We literally had to make them keep one and then the rest they could give because every time a girl made a bracelet, they would run to one of us YMAD kids and give us one. Seeing how willing they are to give and share even though they have absolutely nothing will stay with me forever. I’m so thankful I was able to come on this trip not only because I got to teach them and give them things, but also because these girls have taught me lessons I don’t think I could have learned anywhere else and I will never forget them.
PS Jeff Sonntag if you’re reading this, Saroj made you a bracelet and wrote you a letter! (He’s not reading this Olivia, sorry)