Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Friday, May 30

Today is my last official day as a volunteer and I have a long travel day tomorrow.
Today I tried to spend more time with the youngins, teaching them the alphabet as best as they could grasp it. Sometimes I would have a child who was slightly older than the other, and so was going along faster, and a few of the boys were more interested in playing with the letters and causing havoc as opposed to learning,

As the 12:00 hour approached and the little ones headed off for lunch, and after 2 hours of the same lesson plan over and over, I was ready to focus on the older ones now, but there were only a handful of them playing on the computer. Stephen came by shortly thereafter and we were able to round up some of the older kids, and we ended up playing monkey in the middle while some played on the computer. While I’m sure none of the kids remember my name as anything other than Uncle or Auntie, I still wanted to at least say goodbye to them. It would be great if I could put a little tracking device on them so I could see if anything I did stuck with them 5-10-15 years down the line, so I can only hope that at some point in Abirami or Cyril’s life, or any of them, if they need to know the capital of Vietnam or where India is on the map or what their name is in French, they will know the answer and maybe even remember it was because of Uncle from America.

As I have watched Sarah and Chantal with the kids in Assisi this week, I’ve noticed how almost boundless their energy is with them, and it impressed me. It could be the result or combination of any number of factors, from me being their ages combined or them just simply having that much more love of children or that I have more friends and family at home with kids than you can shake a stick at, but regardless why, I couldn’t match their energy levels. I enjoyed the kids there and they seemed to take a liking to me, so I made sure to say goodbye to them as well before heading back to the guesthouse. I won’t be surprised if I find out later on down the road that the girls cried as they were leaving at the end of their third week. They really have a fondness for the kids there.

It has been a fascinating 2 weeks in India, on the back of 2 weeks in Cambodia on a similar type adventure, and tomorrow I hope to go to make it to Agra to see the Taj Mahal before heading to France on the next leg of my journey.

2 months ago, after having spent a week in Hanoi, I truly felt like I experienced it, as opposed to having just seen it, and I can honestly say the same about India. It may not have been the most comfortable at times, but I do believe I now have a true sense of what it is like to live in India, and I have to thank Global Volunteers for that experience, especially Stephen and the others on the staff here at the guesthouse.

One final note worth mentioning. A uniquely Indian trait is the "nod". It doesn't matter what the scenario, if an Indian person wants to say "ok" or even "yes" it seems, rather than shaking their head affirmatively like we do, they have this side to side, tilt left and right like a bobblehead shake that says it for them. It takes a bit of getting used to, as at first you think they are saying no, or maybe have some type of mental affliction, haha, but after a while, it is actually kind of endearing.

PS Mango season just kicked into high gear and they are extremely juicy right now.


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