Wednesday, November 16, 2011
The morning session at Assisi Illam was a lot easier today. We started off by singing rhymes and songs, then read some books and colored. We learned that the key to quieting them down is coloring books and crayons. They also watched the Discovery Channel which featured a man having his hands bitten by venomous ants and a 600 lb woman. The children were riveted and I was freaked out. At the
, both of my
classes need to learn the difference between nouns and verbs and basic sentence
structure which is what we worked on.
The 5th graders insisted, as in days past, that we start off
the class by singing and dancing to “Love Me Do” by the Beatles which is their
favorite. It is a challenge trying to
keep the children from talking to each other during class and to simply
focus. At SEAMS, McKenzie and I each
worked with two girls for 30 minutes each.
We found that their English skills are very basic so there is a lot for
them to learn. But, they are very eager
to learn, and such sweet kids. The
children at SEAMS are so welcoming and happy to see you that they make you feel
like you are the most special person in the world. After our sessions at SEAMS, we went to
downtown Chennai to watch a traditional dance performance. The music and dance were both very
interesting – the dance moves seemed very complex with many facial expressions
but did not seem to really follow the rhythm of the music. The music lulled us to sleep so after 45
minutes we decided to head back to the guesthouse. Grace
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
After day 1 things became a lot clearer about what we should be doing. We played ring around the rosy and hokey pokey with the children from Assisi Illiam and they seemed to enjoy that. Some of the children just stood in the group and watched. Once they started loosing interest, we pulled out the books. It kept them entertained for a while and they were even asking what some of the pictures were. When the throwing of books and yelling and running started to happen we decided we would try a new game. It was a failed attempt. We learned that once the books and toys are out, all we can really do is keep them from fighting and using the toys as weapons. Zora’s spinning was once again a hit, and I finally go the shyest boy in class to come play and smile. I would call it a pretty successful day at Assisi Illiam.
The children at
were just as
energetic as ever. I started really listening to what they were saying and how
they were saying it, and I realized that they have somewhat good vocabulary,
but what the second and third graders really lack is using complete sentences.
I had to change my whole lesson plan around and I have set a new goal for those
students. For discovering weak areas, I would call it a success at Grace
as well. Grace School
When we got to Seam’s they were having a birthday party for a young shild in the neighborhood. We had some cake and sang and had a good time. Then Zora and I went off to do one on one sessions with the children. We only had time for one round, and I worked with Ramish. He is the sweetest boy and has a contagious smile. It was difficult to know where to start with him. I asked him questions and he didn’t seem to really understand, then I asked him to read a simple book, and he didn’t do so well with that either, so for the remainder of the time we went over sounds, and what words had that sound in them. I think he became less nervous, and felt more comfortable because he stared doing better and better.
Right after Seams we went into the city to go shopping! After that trip I can say I am truly grateful for laws of the road in
. Sheeba helped us pick out some beautiful
fabric for saris, and we got a chudidhar as well. It was a lot of fun. America
All in all, it was a pretty awesome day.
Monday, November 14, 2011
After breakfast we headed to Assisi Illam armed with boos and flash acards for our first day with the little ones. We met Sister Rose and Sister Matilda who gave us a tour of the facility and children’s rooms. The children sang the ABC song for us and after candy was passed out (it was Children’s Day) play time began. McKenzie and I each brought out books which only held the children’s attention for so long. The children were captivated by McKenzie’s camera and loved having their pictures taken. I got my exercise by spinning children around and playing tag. We then headed to the guesthouse for lunch and afterwards went to the
I worked with the 4th and 5th graders while McKenzie
worked with the 2nd and 3rd graders. I found that the children were more advanced
in their English than I expected. The
students were eager to speak English and demonstrate what they knew. The 5th graders enjoy singing
songs. In the evening we went to SEAMS
where the children participated in a drawing contest of which McKenzie and I
were the judges. The children were very
creative and some quite talented. A
group of local women brought treats for Children’s Day and played games with
the children in which we were asked to participate. It was a fun day with the children. They are so happy to see us and their smiles
warm your heart. Grace School
Sunday, November 13, 2011
It was our first day as a team. Zora, a long time lawyer from Chicago who has travelled a lot, but first time to India, McKenzie (myself), a massage therapist from Salt Lake City, young and ready to start her travelling repertoire, and of course Stephanraja our team leader. Not to mention his beautiful wife Sheeba and adorable son Roshan.
We had our first morning meeting and I don’t think Zora nor I knew quite what to expect. This is both of our first times with Global Volunteers, and I must say, it has been a great one thus far. We wrote our goals and came up with 15 characteristics of a successful team. I believe some of those were repeating others, but we just wanted to fill the board with exquisite answers. Our goals included learning about Indian Culture, giving to the community, making progress with the children as far as education goes, and using our abilities and gifts to serve those around us.
After our successful meeting, Zora and I wanted to take a walk to get to know our surroundings. It just so happened that Stephan needed to take back some clothes for Rosha and get some new ones, so we decided to tag along. We knew we wouldn’t get lost that way. We dared the busy chaotic streets as we ran across them, and Zora found a nice friend who was insisting Zora to buy cotton swabs from her. We returned the clothes and soaked in all of the unbelievable sights of Porur, Chennai, such as half demolished buildings, cows everywhere, and amazing colors of clothing worn by the Chennai women.
When we got back we ate a wonderful lunch made by Sheeba and went and took a very long power nap. Eleven and a half hours of a difference in time is not easy to overcome.
We then went and met the children at the Seams home. The welcome we received when arriving is one I will never forget. Children ran up to us with the largest smiles. They were hugging us and putting their arms around us and holding our hands. They were all saying “hello, how are you” then tell us their names. It was overwhelming but so incredibly amazing. They led us to the front of the room where there was two seats, the reluctantly went and sat in front of us. You could tell they were dying to play. They then sang a song to us and I felt as if I would cry! I was debating on which sweet child I was going to stuff in my suitcase and take home with me. They did an amazing job at welcoming us. I thought I was the most special person in the world at that moment.
After they all introduced themselves individually, they sang another song then Stephan selected a few to show us their rooms. They gave us a thorough tour of every dorm and the bathroom inside. The dorms were decent, probably credited to Global Volunteers, but it was just heart breaking to think that they had to live there with no parents of the constant individual care they all deserve. These children need all the love they can get, and I am so proud to be able to give it to them for a short time.
These children are just to die for. Their joy and energy can fill a room in a second. They were just being kids, but their emanating sweet spirits told you they are much more than that.
The time came all too soon that we had to leave. It would have been very pleasant farewell they gave us, if I wasn’t sad we had to leave. They taught me how to say “I’ll see you tomorrow” in Tamil, then were on our way.
Their excitement and enthusiasm rubbed off on me and had me leaving with a large smile and a high of self-esteem. These children really are spectacular.
We then went out for dinner and enjoyed a wonderful meal from Kaaraikudi, a Chettinad restaurant, and returned to the guest house practically falling over ourselves with exhaust. We retired immediately to bed and had a good nights sleep, dreaming of the adventures that would be awaiting us the following day.