June 29, 2011
Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr
Half of the trip is over, half of it to go! Wow, I cannot believe how fast it is going. It is amazing! I cannot believe even more all the experiences I have had, memories I have made, new sights, sounds, smells I have experienced. We sure have packed in a lot in the last week and half. I have been told the next week will go so extremely fast so I am going to hold on tight and enjoy the ride!
Today was a typical day. We got up and enjoyed a good breakfast of Idly with peanut chutney, a hardboiled egg and of course, my two cups of coffee. It was then on to
. Another wonderful day at Grace. My 1st graders were engaged with the lesson today which was wonderful. That makes the morning start off well. It was then on to the beautiful young ladies in my 2nd grade class where they were eager to sing to me the morning greeting song, "Stand Up", before I barely even entered the room. They were so proud that they knew the song. They now leave the classroom saying see you tomorrow and giving me a gigantic hug (oh, I wish I could take those sweet, large hugs home with me!). Last, my third graders who never, ever fail to make me smile. Upon arrival to my third grade classroom they all started singing as they are trying to teach me a song in Tamil. They go way to fast so by the time the song is finished I barely even remember how it started! However, they are so fun to listen to as they sing! Today we did our question of the day which was, "Do you like Mangos or Papayas better?” I have the students come up to the board and write their name under their response. Out of 7 of us (including myself) there was not one person who chose papayas. Now, I do like the papayas here. A lot actually. However, they sure do not compare to those mangos and it was evident by the student’s responses! I was also given two more beautiful pictures by two of the students. These pictures, by far, are my favorite souvenir I will bring home. There is nothing better than something someone made and put love into just for you! I will treasure those sweet pictures! In them they state, "I am happy", "God bless you", "I like you". Sweet words. Grace School
Zach ventured on to his morning routine,
llam. There he had is patience tested by a young little boy, however, it sounded like he might have taken some good breaths, turned the other way, and let the sisters handle the student. One thing in teaching, you must learn how to take huge breaths and be able to turn the other way and let yourself scream silently! Zach continues to enjoy the little ones over at Assisi llam. He has started to get some of them into a circle to read stories and talk about basic skills. The job cannot be easy with that many little ones. Zach enjoyed learning a tongue twister today in which I heard him repeat over and over around the lunch hour, ensuring he would not forget it. He must be careful how he says it otherwise people will think he is saying give me a hug and roll over. Um, that would be a little awkward. Assisi
Our night concluded at SEAMS where we again worked with the children one on one. Because we are a small time it is hard to reach every child when we were there. I feel so bad but I turn that thought around and pour my love, care, attention and teaching into each child who sits in front of me, eager to see what we will be doing. The children's skills at SEAMS are a lot lower than the students at Grace so it takes a lot more creativity on how to present the information to the students. However, with patience and determination, it all comes around!
I was thinking about what are some of the items that were helpful that I brought to
and what are some of the items I could have done without. I thought I would write about my top five useful items while in India . The first one is my BPA free Nalgene bottle. Ohhhh, this bottle has been my best friend. It is filled up about 3 times a day and carried with me everywhere I go. A nice, solid water bottle is a must here in India . Plus, if you cool it, it will become a discussion topic with the children as well as the teachers at Grace for the rest of your time in India . Every day, "Ice-cold", i hear. India
Another item to go along with that is my Peach Tea electrolyte tabs. I plop one in my water each morning to get an extra boost of energy while out in the heat. I have to say, I think they are working as I have been feeling pretty good is this exhausting heat! And, they create another topic of discussion among the teachers and the children, "Why is it that color" they ask.
My third item I am grateful to have here on the trip is my cheap, spongy, ear plugs. There are so many sounds each morning in India-beeping of cars, chipmunks, crows, brooms sweeping, pans clanging, all of them together make it slightly difficult to sleep in, however, with my ear plugs those sounds magically dissipate and I am then ensured a more restful sleep! My fourth item would be my handkerchiefs that I use as both an eraser to erase the chalkboards at school (as erasers are hard to find in the school) and also a way to wipe the sweat from my brow, which is constantly dripping. My fifth item would be my colorful array of pockets t-shirts from Target. I basically wear the same outfit each day, a different colored pocket-t with some shade of brown or black pants. These thin and cheap t-shirts are comfortable, they dry very fast and, I really do not have a lot of decision making about what I will wear each day. One less decision and thought among the million floating around my head here in
One thing I brought were four books. I have read a half of one. We stay so busy here and fall asleep pretty early so I have found I did not need to bring that many! I would say two would suffice!
So, we are on to our second half of the week. I look forward to what this half will bring to us. I am most certain it will bring all of the things the first half did, new experiences, joyful feelings of being here in India and love from the children we serve.
June 28, 2011
Today was our usual routine. I went to
"lifes a garden, dig it" -Joe Dirt
I chose this because these children really are living life to it's fullest and in the happiest manor possible, despite the conditions they may be in.
June 27, 2011
Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat. - Mother Teresa
I chose this quote because working with the children at the orphanage gives the feeling of wanting to help them tangibly: with food, with things, with clothing. However, it is so very important to stop and recognize that the most important thing for these children is to be loved, cared for, and wanted. As the quote states, without that they are in much more poverty then having nothing to eat. We have started our second week here in Chennai. I can tell that my body is a little more used to being here as I slept until around 7:00 am!! Rather than getting up between 4:00-5:00am! After a very thrilling and adventurous weekend, I was ready to get back to the students at Grace school and also SEAMS. I get some a deep joy and satisfaction workin with each and every one of the students. My 1st graders, who have been a little more of a challenge, were awesome today! We did an activity where I put all kinds of letters mixed up on the board. I called the students up one by one , called out a letter and they then had to find that letter. They loved this activity because they were active and were able to take some responsibility for their learning. We also went through the shapes as they appear to not have these down yet. My 2nd graders, always a joy to be with, worked on reading simple sight word books, and also did the same activity as the 1st graders, however, I used words rather than letters. They too, liked this activity. Each morning with my 2nd graders I do a greeting. A way to sing and say hello to them and to each other. Today we did “Stand up”, a greeting that incorporates their name, with a song, and movements. To my surprise, all four of them have learned the words and actions to the song! I was amazed. I think we are going to do that one for the rest of my time here as they just love it! My 3rd graders, my favorite time of the day, were very hard workers today. We did our morning greeting on the board, question of the day, and we then read sight word reading books. Each one of them picked a small sight word book, came up to the front, and read the book to the class. We then talked about the book. They enjoyed reading to the class! When I walked into the classroom, two of the students handed me little notes in which they had drawn pictures for me with hearts and my name on them. Those are the little things that just melt my heart. Such sweet kids!
Zach spent another morning at SEAMS. He was still not feeling so well so he came home and just took a rest for awhile. I was able to get lesson plans done for the week, which felt good and then I took my afternoon snooze. At 5:15 we headed over to SEAMS where Zach and I worked one on one with students. We worked with the girls tonight. I have so much fun with the girls. They are so very giggly, sweet, and happy each time I see them. We did a hangman exercise and then read a small book together. One of the girls wanted to keep reading, and I can never say no to a child who wants to read, so, I let her go past her 10 minutes. It was a good night. So, we finish up the first day of the second week. Everything just feels comfortable now. It is routine, it is home for now, and it brings me such joy being here. A thought came to me today how sad it will be to leave. However, I am sure I will be back again someday! The children and