The Stars are Bright in Shalai Tonight! by Chad Thorell

Imagine a perfect day! For us, it was just that today! We had our divers pick up all of 40 kids from Khandi, our schools and bring them to town to go shopping. The kids arrived all bathed knowing that today was going to be special. We took the boys and girls into the market each of my team holding a students hand. It was so fun to have each child put on and sport their new uniforms with shoes and socks. They all looked so beautiful and were so happy! The entire time we were in the market the children were so orderly and behaved, it was unbelievable. When we were finished we brought he kids to the Guest house, were we are staying for some lunch.

We were greeted by the entire village upon our return to the school! The kids looked amazing! The parents were so proud of their kids. We seated everyone and I had the privilege of speaking to the children and teachers. I told them what and an amazing experience this had been for us to be guests in their village and to be able to work with these wonderful children. I spoke to the kids and told them to take there schooling seriously and to honor and obey their teachers. I choked up a bit as I mentioned we would be leaving tomorrow and how they would be in our hearts for ever.
After I was through we handed out all of our supplies for the school. The teachers were so excited to have paper and pencils and all kinds of supplies that are not generally available in the government schools. Cheers went out when we pulled out the new soccer ball and cricket set for the kids. After the schools supplies were delivered, we handed out personal items for the kids. We had bubbles, glow bracelets, parachute men, bouncy balls and a whole raft of other items my kids and wife had sent with me. We gave out the balance of the supplies we had to the women and mothers that had been watching our the past week.
When we were though, we all hugged and held each other. Tears were freely streaming from our team members, the kids the teacher and our translator. Hearts have truly been knit together. I wish I could better describe the experience!
The matriarch of the village, an elderly woman came up and asked our translator to let her speak. She had quietly been observing our program for the week. She told us how much this experience had meant to their village. I was touched when she said she would be praying for us every day for the rest of her life.
After the gifts, the tears and the speeches the children and the village followed us up the trail 20 minutes to get to the cars. I know I am leaving a part of my heart in this little village and I will never forget what they have given to me!
Tonight the power went out! India is full of surprises! The sky is crystal clear and the stars are lighting up in a way I have never seen it before. In my heart there is a feeling I have never felt before as well!