“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth". - Baha'u'llah (an Iranian theologian and philosopher)
Today marked the middle of our third and final week here in India. It was yet another wonderful day. Again, we started the day with a good breakfast. As always, I anxiously waited to see what food would be waiting in the container, ready for my indulgence. To my surprise, it was a new food! Pungul. I liked it. I would say that I like the dosa or kasari more; however, this was pretty good. I was sure to remember the name of it as everyday at Grace the teachers as me what I had for breakfast. I have been doing a good job of remembering the names the past week and a half whereas before I would scrunch my shoulders and state, “Uhhh, ummm, a yellowish dish”. Much confusion across their faces.
Today I told me students that I only have a couple days left and I will then be flying on a plane back to America. They were curious, asked a lot of questions and stated, “So you will be back next week?” So, I then explained it again. Aw, awwwwwww, they said. “So you will be back next year?” I responded by saying to them I will miss them dearly and hope to someday come back to India. They seemed satisfied with this answer. In my first grade class we played number BINGO. Oh wow, this is quite the activity with the group. Every time they get a number on their card each and every student, every time, and I mean EVERY time, needs to inform me they got that number by shouting, “Mam, mam” and they will not stop until I confirm with a head nod that they do indeed have that number. Needless to say, I do not think I would attempt this activity with them again; however, they sure did enjoy it so I was happy with that. The bell rang and each of the 1st graders lined up to give me their daily hugs and then they grab my head to pull it down for a kiss on the cheek. This has been our routine for the past week. I must say, it is so very sweet and a great way to end the class. I only had 3 students in my 2nd grade class today. Although a small group, we sure did have a lot of fun. They are clearly great friends and care a lot about each other. It is so nice to see. Again, our daily routine of a big, giant, squeeze of a hug and then out the door. I am always in such a pleasant and content mood after seeing my 2nd graders. On to my third graders I go. The time with my 3rd grade always passes so quickly. Before I know it the bell has rang and they are on to lunch. One little boy in this class, Victor, just fascinates me. I have written about him before. Victor is always lost in space, thinking about something else. Always the last to finish his work. However, he is so incredibly smart. His cute little face always scrunches up, evident that he is thinking so very hard about something. He is my translator as well. If I cannot get a message across to my students clearly, he will translate my English into Tamil for the other students to understand. This child, clearly, has a bright future ahead of him. He probably has the most English out of any of the students I have met in Chennai!
During lunch time I again chatted with the teachers. We always have fun conversations and many of them are quite interesting as well. Today I wore a beautiful blue saree. I was looking pretty fancy and also pretty Indian today! I had my blue saree, a bindi, jasmine flowers in my hair, bangles, and a beautiful blue necklace (many thanks to Sheeba for helping me blend in with India!). The teachers had much to say about my dress today. It was a fun conversation. We also talked about how few days I have left in India and how we are all feeling sad about that. It will be sad to leave everyone I have met here in India. Great relationships have been formed.
Again, in the evening, we all headed over to SEAMS where Zach and I went through the routine, working one on one with the children. As always, such loving, gentle, heartfelt kids are at SEAMS. Eager to please, eager to learn and eager to be loved. One thing that I have recognized even more from the children and this trip to India is that it doesn’t matter what color our skin is, what religion we are affiliated with or what country we come from, for we are all the same underneath. All of us want to just be loved and cared for, the most important thing in life. All of us just want to laugh and be joyful. We all have that same inner need. I believe that if the world could recognize this, we would be more easily united. I do believe we continue to get closer to that and that is why I love global volunteers. It is a program that helps to unite countries and gain respect for each other through acts of service.