Friday, November 19, 2010

Millinium Development Goals Achieved by this team from October 31 to November 12

95 Hours of class room instruction in conversational English and computer skills by 3 volunteers and 95 Hours of preparation time

40 Hours of Childcare by 2 volunteer. over 65 students impacted

2 Children's Homes, 2 Schools and over 140 students impacted.

October 31, 2010

Quote: Today I see God reflected in every form

As we started our first day of the program, I began to understand the importance of the work of Global Volunteers. I love their philosophy and am excited about working with the children. I am aware how every drop of kindness and love can make a difference in a child’s life.

Steven is a great team leader and is so welcoming and supportive. We drew up our goals and made a list of what characteristics are needed to be a good team participant. We are all wanting to be open minded, accepting and to serve.

I like that we will be discussing our days, going over what worked well and talking about where we might need support. Steven has made us feel very comfortable.

Tonight we visited the SEAM home and met about 40 children. Looking out at their precious faces as they sang to us, I felt my heart open. These children were so appreciative of our presence and so proud that they had new sleeping quarters thanks to Global Volunteers. They had to show us every room and every bathroom. Before the building was constructed they had been sleeping on the floor all in one room. Each child came up to us, introduced themselves and told us their name. They really know quite a lot of English.

I feel comfortable here, feel there is support for us to make this a meaningful experience.

Wonderful extras are: talking with Sheba, Steven’s wife about all sorts of things, being with their 2 yr old, doing yoga on the roof each morning, eating wonderful tasty food and passing the resident bull on the street each day.

November 1, 2010

Quote: To the man of goodwill, all the world is home. -Socrates

Our day began with a yoga class on the roof of the guest house. Barbara, Marilyn, and Ruthanne stretched and relaxed in preparation for our first full day with the students. After a delicious breakfast, the team went to their teaching assignments. The first off was Ruthanne who spent the morning with three classes—5th, 4th, and 3rd graders—at Grace Nursery and Primary School. Ruthanne brought along a world map and the students were fascinated by how far she had traveled from Chicago to arrive in Chennai. Ruthanne and the students played games, talked about sports and other interests of the students, made words out of Srabble letters, did a little math (factors and prime factors) with the older students, and decided what they would work on tomorrow.

Marilyn and Barbara left a little later to work with 20 youngsters (two to four years old) at Assis Illiam. Their morning consisted of playing games, singing songs, and coloring and drawing with their children.

After a delicious lunch, the team set off again, this time to different assignments. Marilyn and Barbara went to Grace Nursery and Primary School to work with Ruthanne’s students from the morning, and Ruthanne spent the afternoon working with three novices at St. Joseph’s School to help them improve their English. These students are quite advanced in their knowledge of English. Consequently, Ruthanne asked them to decide if there is any area they would like to focus on—pronunciation, grammar, contractions, etc—with conversational English as the ultimate focus.

After a scrumptious dinner, everyone set off for SEAMS (South East Asia Mission) to work with small groups of students for an hour of conversational English. These young people in particular are so kind and so interested in learning that it is a special joy to spend time together.

This was only our first day with our students, but Marilyn, Barbara, and Ruthanne are truly delighted to be part of the 95th India team and are eagerly looking forward to tomorrow’s challenges!

November 2, 2010

Quote: On this path of Life, may our journeys blend.

This morning, the team and host family enjoyed a delicious breakfast and met Stephen’s mother who came to visit her grandson.

Then, Ruthann went to Grace Primary School and taught 1st and 2nd graders. She had them converse and engage in English conversation.

Barbara and Marilyn went to Assisi Illam and spent time with the 2-4 years olds. In groups of four they read to the children. The children sang songs and drew some pictures.

They also talked to Sister Rose, the person in charge of Assissi.

1. In the afternoon, Ruthann went to St.Joseph’s School and taught advanced English grammar to three of the novicites,conjugating sentences. She also taught them advanced conversation.

At Grace Primary School, Barbara and Marilyn took turns teaching 4th and 5th graders. Barbara taught both grades English Grammar and helped them spell and pronounce certain words.

In addition, the children also played Hang Man using English sentences. Marilyn taught some art and English conversation with the same students at opposite times. She told them about her life in America and the children asked questions in English. She also taught them English Grammar.

We came back to the Guesthouse to drop off supplies and pick up new ones before going to SEAM orphanage in the evening.

Ruthann worked with the girls aged 8-10 and they did some magnificent art work. After sharing their individual art, each girl wrote in English all the words they knew.

Marilyn worked with a group of teenagers and they did some amazing art also. They made “puppets” and conversed in English.

Barbara worked with a group of boys aged 10-11 . They wrote their names on paper and then with tiles. Each boy made English words from the tiles. They wrote the names of the members of their respective families. They enjoyed looking at the pictures Barbara brought from California. She showed them a map of the world and where she lived. Then the boys read a book together.

We went to an excellent restaurant for dinner, followed by shopping for teaching aids and supplies.

All in all, it was a wonderful , productive day in Porur.


November 3, 2010
Quote: Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul.

--Emily Dickenson

Today, Marilyn, Barbara, and Ruthanne repeated their schedules of yesterday teaching English at Grace, Assisi Illam, and St. Joseph with one exception. We ended early and went SHOPPING at the Government Store. The store is filled with art objects, clothing, jewelry, furniture, teas, and on and on. Ruthanne actually finished her Christmas shopping there. Because of our shopping spree, we arrived late at SEAM but still spent a full hour with the children.

Our meals at the Guest House continue to be delicious. The children continue to inspire us. And our joy continues unabated.


November 4, 2010
Quote: Humble living does not diminish. It fills.Going back to a simpler self gives wisdom. - Rumi

Today is Thursday. We have been here in the program for 5 full days now. So far it’s been a week filled with:

Precious little children

Singing and dancing

So full of wonder and excitement

Books, songs, finger puppets, drinking from the coconut

We are auntie, sister and mam…..

Love given, love received.

Everyone is getting ready for the holiday tomorrow, Diwalli. The children are all excited. Grace school did not meet so after spending the morning at the daycare we spent more time at SEAMS watching the children play games and then going to our small groups. My boys were totally fascinated with my camera and had so much pleasure taking pictures of themselves and everyone else. We also painted and they really enjoyed that. We are always greeted with such excitement and enthusiasm it is a joy to be there.

An extra treat was walking through the town to go shopping for Indian style clothing. It was truly an experience…cars, motorcycles, horns, many people ….fireworks stores….sparklers and fireworks already bursting into the holiday. Our gracious host Steven had a lot of patience to take three women through the crowds to go shopping. It was appreciated.
Another wonderful day.


November 5, 2010

Quote of the day: Wealth in the vital comes willingly to generous natures. - The mother

We started our day by doing yoga on the terrace. Today is the second day of Diwalli, the biggest holiday of the year. To celebrate, the Indian people buy new clothes, make sweets in the early morning and mostly light off lots and lots of firecrackers. Almost every house has firecrackers to light off. They are LOUD. So, doing yoga to the sounds of the firecracker blaring in air and the loud caws from the crows who don’t like the noise; was an experience I will probably only get here in India.

The whole team went to Assissi Illiam this morning because schools are out for Diwalli. Instead of working with the day care children, we worked with the residents of Assissi. To walk in and have 25 children (whom we were meeting for the first time) welcome us with happiness, joy and love is truly a heartfelt experience. Everyone sang songs, did puzzles, colored and read books.

In the afternoon, Ruthann went to St. Joseph’s to continue teaching advanced English to the noviciates. We went to SEAM later in the day and the children were full of Dewalli happiness. Some had new clothes, some had visits from a parent. In all directions, one could see and hear the firecrackers. All 40 children watched a movie on a 8X10 laptop. To see these children crowded around a small screen enjoying themselves and getting along was truly amazing. Some sat on our laps and I started to “get” what being in India is about for me. It is about unconditional LOVE. I am surrounded by children who give me this gift everytime I see them.

I experience unconditional LOVE from every child I meet. These are children who are happy, joyful and soooo happy to get a pen or a notebook. They are polite and really want to learn from the global volunteers.

Ending the day, the team met with their respective small groups and it was somewhat a challenge to control their holiday spirit. Marilyn was teaching her group of boys art and they got creative and used the paint containers and brushes for “musical instruments” My group wanted to see what all the noise was, so the two groups did some dancing, singing and celebrating.

I brought my kindle and Ipod to show the boys.. Their faces light up at seeing anything I bring them to see or use. Our hours tonite at SEAM are a great ending to a wonderful week.


November 8, 2010
Quote: History says Don’t hope

On this side of the grave.

But then, once in a lifetime,

The longed for tidal wave of Justice

Can rise up

And hope and history rhyme.

-- Seamus Haney

After a very rainy Sunday and a water-born cyclone last night, which fortunately did little damage, the day began bright and sunny. Unfortunately, one of our team, Marilyn, was under the weather and really needed to take a day of rest. So Barbra and Ruthanne bravely soldiered on without her. Because the schools were closed, thanks to last night’s cyclone, Barbara and Ruthanne spent the morning working with the residential youngsters at Assisi Illam. The morning was fun but a tad chaotic.

Marilyn was well enough to join us for lunch but was still suffering some cold-like symptoms and for her own health and that of the children, she decided to rest in the afternoon. Barbara had the early afternoon off, again because of the school closure. Ruthanne returned to St. Joseph’s to work with the novices, today on the fascinating subject of the present and past perfect tenses. She gave her three student’s an exercise to complete which she evaluated back at the guest house. Her students really have an impressive grasp of English. Tomorrow the grammar lesson will focus on the future perfect tense.. The grammar subjects, while quite boring, are the subjects with which the students asked for help.
Later in the afternoon Barbara and Ruthanne returned to SEAM to work with a new group of students. Barbara had a new class of boys and Ruthanne had a new class of girls. The kids drew pictures, worked on puzzles, and communicated to the best of their ability in English.

Dinner followed delicious as usual followed by a discussion of whether we are meeting the goals we set for ourselves during orientation and whether we are an effective team. Marilyn,,Barbara, and Ruthanne agreed that we are meeting our goals and modestly concluded that we are an absolutely splendid team. After dinner, we spent a lovely social hour together with Stephen, Sheeba, and Rosjhen and then toddled off to bed to prepare for another challenging and fulfilling day.


November 9, 2010

A man, as a general rule, owes very little to what he is born with—a man is what he makes of himself. - Alexander Graham Bell

WHO LEFT THE COWS OUT? Yes, cows….not dogs. Almost any street in India has cows “hanging out” They return home at dark. No one bothers them. This is part of what makes India, India.

School was back to normal today,so, Ruthanne went off to Grace Primary School in the morning, while Barbara went to Assiss Illiam. Marilyn was still not well enough to work today.Ruthanne taught the noviciates in the afternoon. Their grammar is vastly improving with her wonderful teaching skills.Barbara went to Grace and taught English to 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th graders in two different sessions.

In the evening, the team went to SEAM and met with our new groups for the second day.

It still amazes me how happy these children are when we arrive. Their faces light up in a way that is so endearing. They greet us, shake our hands and want to carry anything we bring with us. They are genuinely hungry for knowledge. We ended the evening with a wonderful meal at a local restaurant. Spending time with the children, the team and especially the host family, makes me grateful to have this Global Volunteer experience here in india.


November 10, 2010

Quote: Is it possible to live a truly Christian live in an affluent society? If so, how?

The day began-- as usual-- with a delicious breakfast. Marilyn is still suffering from her cold-like illness and decided --for her own sake and that of the children-- to take the day off. Barbara set off to Assisi Illam to work with the day care children. She had a great morning except for a few piddle problems. Ruthanne spent the morning with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders at Grace School working on identifying and pronouncing rhyming words following yesterday’s work on plural nouns. After lunch, Barbara taught 4th and 5th graders at Grace School while Ruthanne worked with the novices at St. Joseph’s on English pronunciation. Later, with Marilyn feeling almost recovered from here illness, Barbara, Marilyn, and Ruthanne spent an hour with the children at SEAM. The children at SEAM offer us a special joy: they are so open to learning and so full of affection.

Dinner was followed by a relaxed social hour. Barbara and Ruthanne decided not tso venture into Chennai as they had planned to attend a performance of Indian classical dance and instead watched an earlier performance on Stephen’s computer.

Our Global Volunteers sojourn in India is winding down. We are having a grand time and are beginning to regret not having signed up for the three week program!


November 11, 2010

Quote: The highest form of spiritual practice is our relationships with one another.

Today is Thursday our next to the last day with Global Volunteers. This morning Barbara and I had the pleasure of watching the little children at the day care center dance to music played on the CD player. Then Barbara and Sister Rose did a spontaneous dance that was fun to watch. As always the staff is so generous serving us warm oatmeal or tea or this morning patties made out of plantain flour. We continued to work with our small groups and the children looked at books and learned numbers and colors. Ruth worked at Grace school with the 4th and 5th graders teaching them verbs, past, present and future.

In the afternoon we were treated to a special excursion to the cave where St Thomas lived and then to the site where he was martyred. It is a very holy site in India and one that is not often mentioned to the tourists. It was a memorable experience.

In the evening we worked with our groups at SEAMS. I gave the girls choices of painting, using colored pencils, reading books and writing sentences. They really enjoyed the activities. Barbara continued to work with her boys and Ruth had a group of girls. As always we just loved being there.


November. 12, 2010

Quote: What you are is God’s gift to you; what you make of your life is your gift to God.

As the Team ends their time here in Chennai, it is with mixed emotions. Glad for the time spent and the joy the children brought us, sad to be leaving such wonderful Gift’s from God.

Today, Ruthanne went to Grace Primary School and had fun with the children to reward them for all of their hard work these last two weeks. She had them draw and play hang man. At Assissi Illiam, Marilyn and Barbara worked with groups of four children. The children danced and sang and again, Sister Rose danced with Barbara. Sister Rose presented the Team with presents and then back to the guesthouse for lunch.

At Grace School in the afternoon, the children surprised Barbara with songs and pictures of love. There were tears and a sad good-bye from the children.

Ruthanne continued at St. Joseph’s and finished the book she was reading with the noviates.

Everyone went to SEAM in the evening and it was fun, entertaining and sad. The children are so happy and affectionate with the TEAM, it was hard to leave.

Tonight, Ruthanne leaves for America, and in the morning, Barbara and Marilyn leave for a 16 day journey through India.

How to sum up this experience: How do words explain the joy one feels to serve and be received with such affection? I can not find any. I will end knowing I have memories to last a lifetime and truly hope to come back some day and work with these children


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