There’s a Poo on our Bathroom Floor. - Julia Dahdah

IMG_3214 IMG_3263 I don’t know how many days we have been here but they have been some of the most incredible life changing days I have ever experienced. I left Salt Lake without any idea what to expect from India, just hoping that I was about to embark on the most amazing trip of my life. So far, it has been exactly that. I have known people to go on these trips with YMAD before and all I know is they come back changed. I have learned so much already. I have learned how to teach, how to learn in a whole new way, how to be a better team player, and simply- how to love. I am so inspired by every child we have taught because of his/her determination to learn and to progress in English. I have fallen in love with India, with the Himalayas, and especially the children we have seen and taught. Every experience- every lesson I teach, every child I look at, every single time I turn around in this beautiful country- is something I will remember for the rest of my life. These lessons and experiences cannot be purchased. They cannot even be acquired without an open mind, heart, and determination to do the best we can do. And let me tell you- that is exactly what we are doing.

We have taught two groups of kids so far and tomorrow will be our first day teaching a third and final group of girls. The first few days we taught girls from the Temple Orphanage and the next few days we taught kids from a private school, and today we met our third and final group of girls that we have only known as “The Mountain Girls” since before we left for India. Now here’s the deal. When we call people such a title as “Mountain Girls,” I am- and correct me if I am wrong in thinking this- expecting some exotic group of people wearing nothing but loin cloths and/or swaddling clothing. You know, like Jungle Book or George of the Jungle or Tarzan (or sweet baby Jesus himself). Here I am, hoping for leaves in their hair, dirt all over their body, never having seen a toilet, shower, anything. No. This is not what we got. They have normal Indian clothes, jewelry, shoes, and even bras. They are perfectly civilized, just with no English. Not going to lie about it, I was a bit disappointed in learning this. But let me tell you how excited I am to teach them. They are here because a woman walked around the mountains of India in search of girls (who I guess are civilized) that want to learn English with us for the next week. These girls are all here because they want to be here. They want to learn English from us and that will make all the difference and I already know I will learn so much in this next week. It will be amazing and inspiring to see their progress and know that it came from us.

Some highlights so far from this crazy adventure: My room at the NHCP. Our room consists of: A) Sam, Maggie, Brynn and me. B) outlets that don’t work. C) Really loud door. D) The bathroom is always a swamp because all day water just streams out of every pipe. E) Broken squatter that we cannot poo in because it is full (who knew that could happen?) F) probably 14 cockroaches (that hang out in the squatter. Yes, mom, the toilet) occasionally they make a nice appearance in the room. Shout out to Rachel who just killed one for us three minutes prior to this paragraph. Next highlight (if all of that wasn’t good enough): SOCCER GAME!! We participated in the most amazing soccer game against a team of Indians, and the field was surrounded by, and I am NOT exaggerating, at least two thousand Indians there to watch the show. I could not stop laughing because in my real life we were a huge group of white kids wearing matching shirts walking up to a soccer field in the town center with thousands of Indians staring RELENTLESSLY at us who do not understand personal space, I might add. It was the time of my life. Final highlight: found a legitimate piece of poo on the floor of our bathroom. Human. And didn’t notice it until like three days in. I may have 42 mosquito bites and a chance of malaria but now I might also get e-coli but really, what’s worse?