Ekta's First Day Was Amazing!
The report from the Ekta team, after their first day, was full of enthusiasm! Each group had a wonderful time getting to know the the children in the schools and starting their educational training. The teams each have a translater to help them out in the schools. Even though the teachers teach english, most of them have a difficult time with conversation. Our program works because the kids want to find out about our youth and have to speak english to do so. In the struggling, the local children begin to grasp english as they converse with YMAD teans.
We are working in a new ashram in a village called, Raj Nagar. It has nineteen boys. Our translator for this team is an eighteen year old boy, Vinayak, that has been working with us for five years. When Brett Palmer, the adult leader, asked the teens in his group how old they thought Vinayak was they all guessed he was over twenty. They were shocked to find out he was a senior in High school and just graduating this year. There was an immediate bond between YMAD teens and Vinayak after that conversation. The members of this team are Michael, Katie, Mckinley, Bennie Suzanna, Samantha and Chandler.
Allison Ford is working in a rural school and ashram in Kalsuin. She was all lit up about how our youth reached out to their new friends. Durring an active game of Duck Duck Goose Kayla fell on her knees splitting one open. With a good cleaning, a few stitches by our nurse Janese, she was back in the game with out a tear or any hesitation. Kayla, Josh, Jordan, Ethan, Chelsie, Moraya & Kelsie are the members of this team.
Lisa Palmer and her team went to work in the school at Nihan. This school is perched on a cliff high up on a mountain. Last year our team put a wall around the top floor of the school that serves a the play ground for the kids. When I saw the wall for myself last I had a hard time believing the school kids played up there. It was at least a 60 foot drop on three sides of the building. The view however is spectacular. After school let out at Nihan, the team went to meet the girls in the Temple Ashram. The twenty seven girls that live in this ashram attend school in down town Chamba. Most are orphans or half orphans with several sets of sisters. They live in a building that looks like it is ready to fall down. Ultimately, we want to build a more safe facility for them. Kelcie, Hannah R., Olivia, Tanner, Abbey, Christian are the youth working at this school and ashram.
Jenny Hale and Nick Clark went to the school and ashram in Sahoo at the top of a canyon north east of Chamba, a forty five minute drive from where we are staying. The school is a 1/4 mile hike down from the road. This is another amazingly beautiful location. Our team was greeted by kids that were so excited to see the Americans. Nick, Todd, Maddie, Hannah, Meghan and Anna are working in at this location.
The accommodations at the NHPC where our group is staying are meager by US standards. Four to five youth, wall to wall, in a room on the floor on mattresses with one bathroom shared by two rooms. No western toilets here, just squatters. Bucket baths for showers with hot water made by heating rods. The food has been great by previous standards. The cafeteria is a five minute walk from our rooms.
We are still having a bit of trouble with internet and will be posting blogs later today! Day two in the schools has just begun! We hope to get photos up soon!