Mysticism – Eric Martinez

November 29, 2017 - 2017 Operation: Dabangg

As they say, “the best feelings in the world cannot be put in words.” Challenge accepted!

Mysticism, warmth, beauty and natural surroundings. Incredible experiences, magic and spiritual peace. Energy, purity, a feast for all five senses…how am I doing so far?


To describe something intangible, something we only feel has never been easy for me, but I’ll try my best today in describing one of my best travelling experiences so far with the most amazing group of teens!! To an exotic destination, one of the richest and most diverse cultures that I’ve ever seen in my life populated  with the most wonderful people I’ve ever come across. Our driver, our translator, our cooks, the tailor who took up the challenge of making me a traditional Indian outfit. Last but most defiantly not least, the man that makes magic happen: Raj.


 Going to the YMAD girl’s house after teaching at our school is such an enjoyable experience. Even though the teens seem tired after teaching under the sun for most of the day, they can’t wait to see the YMAD girls and spend time with them. The view of of the Himalayas is amazing, I feel like we’re in a National Geographic documentary. Once there, we read books with them, we do word searches, and we dance and play with the girls. Some of the girls have some serious dance moves that put Jack to shame. The vibe at the YMAD girl’s house is so peaceful and is the perfect end to a hard working day at Sidhpura. These girls are so  well-mannered, and it’s a blast to be with them! Kira is thinking about spending the summer with them (fingers crossed) to help out. If you ever are looking to invest in a good cause, then look no further- YMAD girls house is where its at! YMAD is enhancing the girls learning by partnering up with some local leaders. The goal is to help the girls improve their English so that they have a better chance to continue a higher education if they wish to do so (which I am sure they will) and to enhance their mathematics and science  as well as learning live skills and making sure they are all physically and mentally healthy. It was hard to say goodbye to them on Monday, but I’m happy knowing they’ll continue to be looked after and I hope our family keeps supporting them for years to come!


Today was our last day at our school. All of the kids were wearing their brand new shoes, socks and sweaters. After lunch, We  gave them a hygiene kit,  a school supply kit(color pencils, pencils, markers, glue, ruler, eraser, scissors) and most of the teaching materials we brought from home. We played games and finally it was time to say our goodbyes. For some reason the whole school seemed to have what can only be described as season allergies. Its hard to think we are not going to see them again. I will always cherish my time here with Kira, Dani, Brooke, Leah, Jack and Wilson. I will never forget what the kids from the little school in Sidhpura thought me – unconditional love.


 This is the last time I will get to blog about our team, so I will do my best to make it a good one. How grateful I am to have gotten to know Kira, Dani, Leah, Brooke, Wilson and Jack over the past year, to see their unique talents and personalities, their contributions to our expedition, and especially to have had the very up close and personal experience of living in India with them for these past two weeks and seeing them embrace everything that this trip had in store for us. From the rustic accommodations, the organized chaos, the giant spiders in the rooms, the extinct concept of personal space, the overworked taste buds and the tales of the King of Chamba courtesy of Henry, which honestly we all loved—I truly do love those kids and would do anything for them. I love being with them every day at our school and working together to resolve the challenges that we face each day and I am impressed by the way they have handled each one of them.


Kira, I love how self sufficient and adaptable you are and how loving you are with the kids! You were so good with them and learned all of their names fast. You also helped the team figure out our timing rotations so that we could finish on time for lunch. I love seeing how good you are with the YMAD girls and your willingness to read to them.


Wilson, I love your energy and inclusiveness. I will never forget the time we had the opportunity to experience chamba town with Raj away from the rest of the group so the tailor could figure out how to make outfits for such tall guys and a second time because they didn’t fit. Kira and I saw how you found your grove teaching and how engaged you keep the little ones, especially the younger group. We are all so grateful for you and your art skills for our mural. Thanks for being able to put all of our random ideas and thoughts in order to make something that will remind the kids of our team, and how much we loved them!And although the green handprint on my face eventually washed away, the time we had as a team will keep us bonded.


Dani, thanks for saying it like it is! Sometimes it’s good to hear those things. You were always making sure that our team didn’t offend the teachers when they brought food and set an example by eating it! You’re dabangg! Also, you made us laugh with your one liners!! Thanks for being so  kind, loving and patient with the kids, what a great example you are to all of us! I particularly loved seeing you how you read to them, making sure that they understood the book as much as possible.  



Brooke, thanks for your energy and smile. The kids were a bit shy at first and probably overwhelmed as well, especially when they didn’t understand what you were saying but you were able to make them smile and bring out their silliness by making funny faces and taking pictures with them. Also, seeing you doing  the eye exams with such a great love and concern for the kids was really neat to observe! Also, you were so calm that day since you were the group leader and had to keep track of time and do the activities with all the kids during our rotations.


Leah, I love the cheerfulness and happiness you bring to our team and how caring you were with the kids. Even when the sun made you cry, you were always smiling for the group you were teaching and you were able to make them listen to you. I loved how animated you were reading them Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Those kids just love you, especially the older girls. You bonded with them so quickly!


Jack, I love how spontaneous, funny and caring you are. You have been so good with the kids; seeing how much love you have for them has been just wonderful to see. Those kids will never forget “Jackson, sir”  and the dance parties at the end of the day!! Thanks for bringing my nickname back!


 I love how mature you all are! I️ have been so impressed with how grown up they’ve all been about this experience. They have risen to the occasion, never complained about things, and I’m so proud of them. They are such good examples to me of selflessness, hard work, optimism, resourcefulness and compassion.


Thanks to all my family back at home for your love and support and for the awesome letters. Also a big thanks to all of you who donated money to this expedition, specially to Brad Rayburn who has been a great support to Emma and me. To Alison and Brooke, thanks for giving me the opportunity to join this expedition  and for all the hard work you do to make this possible. And lastly to my lovely friend and companion… Rachael, thanks for introducing me to YMAD. Thanks for supporting me in everything I do. I love you! I hope we continue to support YMAD in what ever way we can. See you at home noselet!!

2 Responses to “Mysticism – Eric Martinez”

  1. Thank you so much for your exceptional leadership and friendship that you’ve given to wilson and the rest of your team. Your words and photos have given us a different glimpse into Ymad and we are so grateful. Wilson is blessed to have you there with him on this amazing journey! Safe travels!
    Laurel and James McConkie

  2. I love this and I love you! I’m so glad we can share the YMAD experience. It’s such a memorable one! Can’t wait to see you on Saturday! You’re the best leader!

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