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A Gift from India

December 4, 2011 - All Posts, 2011 Operation Prakash

It is hard to find the words to describe the whirlwind of the last 17 days. Amazing, Incredible, Surreal, Unexpected, Exhausting,Rewarding and Joyous come to mind instantly, but – maybe I’ll try by picking a few that we have all become a little bit more familiar with over the past year.

Integrity – “ Great leaders do the right thing, even when no one is watching” and let me tell you “everyone” ( well not quite all 1.5 billion people of India ) but everyone we came in contact with was watching “everything” we did. There are watchers, there are listeners and there are doers, and I have never been more proud of what these teens have done and how they exemplified integrity.

Vision & Courage – “If I have seen further, it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants” Sir Isaac Newton – For the teens, it takes a tremendous amount of courage and commitment to travel and teach in a foreign country. For the parents, there is a great deal of uncertainty about sending your children off to make a difference in world. I am grateful for all of the trust, support and sacrifice that all the parents, spouses, children and others have offered in making this trip an overwhelming success. It does not go unnoticed and this experience could not happen without you – so thanks for cheering us on in so many ways!! There are also countless hours of behind the scenes preparation that takes place and I am thankful for those that do so much to make this expedition not just a dream but a reality. No matter how much you prepare or think you are prepared… in India you never know what is just around the corner, it is often unusual and unexpected. Our teens were able to deal with whatever India threw at them and maintain their vision and clarity of purpose.

p.s. – “ It is a normal day in India!!”

Inspiration – I can imagine few things more inspiring than seeing the light in people’s eyes as genuine and lasting friendships are formed. Our expedition was very aptly named “Prakash”!

Service & Learning – Two of my personal favorite projects while in India were:

        1. Placing the bricks and continuing to build on the “Pathway of dreams”
        2. Painting the classroom, shutters and trim at the school.

I know these were both physical acts of service and probably the longer lasting and more effective service was done through teaching, learning, lifting the spirits of the children and giving them hope of a brighter future. Sometimes it only takes a little spark.

Forgiveness & Gratitude – I had many opportunities to practice and witness both of these virtues come into play on our trip. I would not always choose to use them in the same sentence but here goes… I am extremely grateful for the patience, understanding, flexibility and forgiveness that was shown one to another on this trip. Everyone let the seemingly “little” inconveniences or irritations slide right off their backs and worked extremely well with the “fluid” Indian time schedule. Little things did not turn into big things and hence the big things never happened. Everyone was amazingly helpful and considerate, for this I am truly thankful!!

By the way – here is a picture of the tiger I saw…

– Little known fact, the Royal Bengal Tiger is almost as elusive as the Sasquatch but not quite as elusive as a good nights sleep while in India with 23 amazing high school students and 6 incredible adult leaders, all of whom I am lucky to call my friends!

“It is a gift from India!” and one I will always treasure in my heart.


4 Responses to “A Gift from India”

  1. Yep, you are still my hero!

  2. Perhaps the greatest gift is the leadership and good example that you are to everyone around you! It is in good leaders that we have confidence and faith that our children will be ok. We cannot controll the circumnsatnces around us but we can choose how we will react to them. True leadership is being calm amidst the storm. Thanks for the sense of peace you bring!

  3. Perhaps that is a picture of a tiger you took a picture of?…

  4. I am with Greg…nice try though. I sure like you.

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