Monday, February 23, 2009

Millinium Development Goals

Achieved by this team from February 9 - 13;

60 Hours of class room instruction in conversational English and computer skills by 5 volunteers and 60 Hours of preparation time.

50 Hours of childcare by 2 volunteers

50 Hours of construction labor at SEAM Children's Home by 2 volunteers

2 Schools, 2 Children's Home and over 500 students impacted

Saturday, 2/7/09 (Ginny Weber)

“The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it, you will discover that for you the world is transformed”.- J. Krishnamurti

It’s Saturday but we’re off to our first work day of the third week. Georgie and Linda M. are taking the overnight train to Mysore so we changed our schedule a bit and we’ll have our weekend holiday on Sunday and Monday.

Linda M. and Georgie worked construction today at SEAMS. The dormitory is coming along beautifully and we hope to have it completed on time. Georgie learned some Tamil words from the mason.

Linda W. continued her math teaching at Grace School, determined to get a few math equations in to their sleepy heads. Children here go to school on Saturdays and are a little tired of the whole thing by then.

And Ann and I went back to Assisi to work with the children. Those kids are non-stop and it takes every ounce of energy to keep up with them. They are adorable and Ann and I love being with them. We thought we might escape Sister Rose pushing food on us at lunch time as we were planning going back to the guest house for lunch – but as we left Assisi she insisted that we take 3 boxes of food to share. She makes me laugh and is truly a delight.

After lunch we prepped for our next classes. During our break I walked down to the bangle shop. While there I chatted with the cutest girls coming from St. John’s High School. Kids go to school on Saturday and they all must wear uniforms (not a bad idea for the U.S.). They spoke beautiful English and were lively and vivacious like typical teenage girls. In the afternoon we all went to SEAMS for our one on one teaching with special kids. We ended the day at SEAMS with a wild and rollicking play time with all the kids.

After dinner (another wonderful vegetarian meal prepared by Rani) Georgie and Linda M. headed to the train station for their weekend adventure in Mysore.

Tuesday, 2/10/09 (Georgie)

The journey is difficult, immense…We will travel as far as we can, but we cannot in one lifetime see all that we would like to see or to learn all that we hunger to know. –Loren Eiseley

While we have all traveled a long distance to help the community of Chennai, many, if not each of us, also came here to test and learn about ourselves. Our time in India is coming to an end where we no longer count the days we have been here, but instead, we acknowledge the remaining days of this journey. Now that today is behind us, we have three glorious days left.

Now that we are fully immersed in week 3, our routine is on autopilot where we make only slight adjustments based on the specific needs of those we are helping. Gone is the need to figure out how to adapt to the culture. Linda W. is getting closer to preparing here SEAM students for their upcoming math exam while her Grace School kids fully understand her routine of how each day’s lesson will progress. Linda M. graduated to both lifting cement to the rooftop to also handing it down from the rooftop giving her upper body and lower back quite the workout. Ginny helped Sister Caroline type her first letter on a computer. Ann is able to balance more and more children on her lap while at the same time teaching them their colors, shapes, and how to use a glue stick. I am getting the hang of teaching multiple kids at once how to use a computer even though they don’t fully comprehend English. Linda M. and I finally wore our saris to St. Joseph’s – the novices were so excited.

We ended our evening with a team dinner on the rooftop of our guesthouse. A near full moon peaked over the trees while candles lit our table. The cool breeze seemed to keep those pesky mosquitoes at bay. What a great way to spend one of the last few days here with an amazing group of people. Their support and generosity is something I won’t forget.

Wednesday, 2/11/09 (Linda M.)

Only two days left on our journey. I think we are all trying to find a way to say good-bye to the children we have become attached to.

Ginny spent the day teaching Sister Caroline the computer, and Ann spent her time with the children of Assisi crawling all over her.

Linda W’s boys at SEAM are away until 8 pm studying for their exam so she spent her evening helping the girls prepare.

Georgie and I worked construction at SEAM were the work is progressing smoothly. The building is almost totally cemented over.

Linda W. bought samosas for all the children at SEAM as a treat for our evening visit. They enjoyed them immensely…so did we!

Thursday, 2/12/09 (Ginny Weber)

“The moment the slave resolves that he will no longer be a slave, his fetters fall …. Freedom and slavery are mental states” Mohandas Gandhi

The yoga team (Linda M., Georgie, and Linda W.) started their day on the roof with a downward dog. The sleeping team (Ann and Ginny) did their best to get out of bed. After a nutritious breakfast we went off to our assignments: Georgie and Linda M. back to construction at SEAMS, Linda W. back to teaching math at Grace School, and Ginny and Ann to Assisi to take care of the little ones and teach Sr. Caroline some computer skills.

At noon we all gathered at St. Thomas Hospital to meet Sr. Rexline. Sr. Rexline is one of these incredible human beings who have moved mountains. From a one room clinic she created a large well known hospital, an orthopedic wing, a nursing school, and a convent.
Sr. Rexline is tiny and soft spoken, but when in her presence you feel her intelligence, strength, and determination. She is quite a woman and we were all in awe. She and her nuns fixed us lunch and showered us with gifts – the Indian way of having guests.

In the afternoon we continued with our assignments then all went to SEAMS for our one-on-one training with selected kids. At the end of that the kids gave a rousing and tearful send off to Linda M.

We drove to the Ambica Hotel for a fantastic dinner (I had ice cream of course) then home to the guest house for the next day prep and bed. Another exhausting but fulfilling day.

Friday, 2/13/09 (Ann Cheng)

“Love is something eternal.” Vincent Van Gogh
Today was the last day of our program. Every one seemed sad to leave though looking forward to our journey back home.

We had our lunch at Assisi with Sister Rose. It was enjoyable as usual. We ended our lunch with the babies handing each one of us a gorgeous blanket as a present and the cutest kiss goodbye ever.

The hardest part of the day was saying goodbye to the kids at Seam. They gave each one of us a hand-made thank you card with their names written inside. We were all amazed by their beautiful dances. I am sure their images will stay in our hearts every single day.

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