Now accepting applications for the Fall 2022 teen expedition. Applications are due March 6, 2022.

Last Day – Emma Ely

November 29, 2017 - 2017 Operation: Dabangg

This has been the most amazing experience I have ever been apart of. And I would not trade it for anything. Ashley was saying that it’s hard to have so much courage to sign up for something like this, fundraise, travel and teach and have the best time, only to have your heart broken. Yet I am still so thankful that I got to share my heart with 37 precious little kids.


On Sunday we got to go to little Switzerland and it was so beautiful. The drive was the most beautiful thing and I got to sit in the front seat for the first time so it was niiice. On our way there, we went to this temple and got the little dot on our forehead and this red bracelet. It was so cool. When we got to Kajjar, there were a couple of things we could do but I ended up laying out and getting a nice tan/sunburn. I did hold a teence baby bunny for free but I’m pretty sure it had rabies because its eyes were red and creepy. The YMAD girls got to come with us and it was so so fun. We all sat in this field surrounded by thousands of pine trees and did henna and talked. Then we ate lunch and let me tell ya my expectations were a little higher than they should’ve been. The French fries were yummy but then they brought out this orange chicken looking like dish and it didn’t taste like Panda Express. That’s all. We went back to the hotel and had our gratitude meeting which was really cool. I talked about how grateful I am for education and how fortunate we are. After seeing the circumstances that these kids are in makes me a lot more aware of how many opportunities we have and how we need to take them. We are given a good education and a chance to have a bright future and it’s something that I’ve always just assumed is true for everyone but it really isn’t. And here are these kids on the other side of the world who light up when they get a chance to learn English. They definitely have grown more weary of the lessons because every time I pull out the flash cards and book they say “Noooo didi no matching game no book”. After we all went around and said what we are grateful for, we read the letters from our family. Ben, not gonna lie yours was making me so so emotional. And everyone else too. I was feeling so grateful and happy and sad and all the emotions you can possibly feel were swirling around in my head. At first when they said we could call home I was hesitant but mostly because I didn’t think mom would pick up the phone. It ended up being great though.


Monday was a super fun day. We taught our emergency lessons and it was so much better than I expected it to be. It was probably the best lesson I taught all week. Then we went to the YMAD house to say goodbye to the girls. They are the sweetest girlies I have ever met. I’ve only known them for a week but I feel like I just gained 10 little sisters. It was so hard to say goodbye to them. They were all crying so hard and I never wanted to let go of them.


Today was the very last day with the kids. And it was the fastest day ever. We reviewed with them for the first part of the day and it was so fun to see what they knew. They honestly have learned so much this past week and I’m so happy to see them know it all. I feel like a proud mom. I am a proud mom. For lunch the teachers made us fried rice and got us cool Indian hats and quote books and chocolate. They are genuinely the sweetest women ever. The last half of the day was the hardest and sweetest. We basically had two hours to laugh, play, and cry. We got to hand out pictures and they absolutely adored them. The whole time Disha would come up to me and hug my waist and say “Didi please please no don’t go” and would be sobbing. At first I thought it was sweet and then all the kids would run and grab onto me and say “I love you I love you so much don’t go”. I have never felt so much love for somebody that I have just met. I hope that one day I can see them again soon. The teachers kept wiping away my tears and saying “next year next year! God bless you. Smile!”. The last kid I got to say goodbye to was Sujal who I hate to say was my favorite, but he was my boy. He was so quiet but had the fullest heart. Right as I was walking out of the school he came and gave me a hug and said “I love you so much”. As we got in the car all the kids surrounded it and were all sobbing. Even little Naveet was wiping away all his tears. It was just a little bit of an awkward car ride back to the hotel. But I am so happy I got to share this experience with my team. We really are the best team. #orangeteam


Like I said before, the teachers at the school each gave us a book that were all different. They mostly consisted of spiritual ways of life and quotes about “inner beauty”. In mine, it has a bunch of different sections about contentment, happiness, cheerfulness, etc. In the courage section it says something that I think really relates to all 31 of us who came here to help India be a little better of a place. It says “Courage is to take a step forward into an area of difficulty without a solution in mind, but yet feeling that victory is ahead. It is going empty handed, but knowing that God’s hand is stretched out to pull you”.


 I am so happy I got to have this experience and have the courage to teach English and provide for the kids in India. I am also so excited to come home!!! Addison and Grace, I miss you guys so much! And the fam of course. Remember mom, clean my room, and I’m planning on a nice pork quesadilla when I get home on Saturday.

See you soon!!!!




5 Responses to “Last Day – Emma Ely”

  1. Last days are the best and the worst! It’s so awesome to realize how much love you can gain in such a short time, and so incredibly hard to leave your heart there with those adorable kids! Enjoy Dharmsala!

  2. Emma. I love you to pieces. We aren’t getting posts from Estelle’s group so I’ve been eating up all you said!! Way to make the most and I absolutely love the part about courage. Can’t wsit to see you.

  3. I love you sissy! This was the best post! It wraps up the whole experience so beautifully. I am really proud of you! 😘 Can’t wait to hug you on Saturday.

  4. Oh goodness I sobbed the whole time reading this. You sound like you had sooo much fun!! I love and miss you so much, and I can’t wait to give you a big squeeze on Saturday!! See you soon roach!!!!❤️💕

  5. EMMA you cutie pie!!! This post was AMAZING! Made me laugh and cry! You’re such a gem! Miss ya and love ya!

Leave a Comment

Say Hello

Questions? Want to help us? Drop us an email!