Sense of Wonder (Brooke Lange)
When you land in India, your senses explode. The variety of colors, smells and sounds are overwhelming. Your senses compete as you take in the dueling sounds of monkeys and dogs as you settle in at night, or the vast colors and smells of the market. India is movement. India is mystery. India is magic. The last several days have truly been an experience I will never forget and one I hope to repeat. My team was assigned to Sahu, a rather large school perched high in the Himalaya’s and populated by 57 adorable children. We play until we are breathless and we teach until we drop. As far as cuteness goes, nothing quite compares to a tiny face looking at you and asking for a hug while calling you didi or sister. These faces have stolen my heart and I can’t wait to get to the school each day to hear them say “Good Morning!” And I dread leaving in the afternoon. Next week I will have to leave for good, or at least for a spell, and that will wrench my heart in two. Let’s not think about that…. For now, they have my heart and I am completely happy.
When we finish in the schools, we walk down to the Ashram where we spend the next couple of hours playing with the boys who live there. Their circumstances are dire but their spirits are alive and they make us laugh and do silly things as we try to one-up each other in soccer, cricket, volleyball, pipe cleaner creativity and arm wrestling. A lesson in humility for sure….
When I first embarked on this adventure, I dreamed of repeating the experience Gardner (my son) had two years ago. That was not in the cards this year, but because I have some amazing friends here in India, I was able to go visit the Nihan school today and complete that circle. Words are difficult to come by because I’m still processing the visit but I was able to deliver a letter from Gardner to his kids. The school master read the letter first in English, then translated it into Hindi. The kids poured over photo albums I put together for them of the 2011 Jyoti Expedition. They laughed and pointed to each other when they recognized themselves and their friends in the photos. It was the piece I needed. It was the piece that made the last year make sense.
And we’re back round to the topic of senses. India has heightened my senses, not only my physical senses, but some of a deeper nature. I have a deeper sense of joy. A deeper sense of peace. A deeper sense of wonder.
Shout out to my team! I love you all so much! Lauren, Sandon, Kristen, Dylan, Sarah S, Jamison and Angela. Thanks for your support! Parents of these kids…well done! They are AMAZING!