Friday, June 8, 2012

Thursday, 7th June, 2012

Quote - “Who, being loved, is poor?” - Oscar Wilde

My morning started again with my yoga class in the roof top. It helps me to start my day with calm and peace.

Today kids at Assissi were much more calm than yesterday. Just a few were crying, and the rest were enjoying playing and looking the books. Dani still can’t let go Emily, I for the other hand made several times a big tower of lego with Riona. She has been very calm and quiet since her first day. She is gorgeous. All of us played “duck duck goose”. We had a great time; the kids really enjoyed the game as they didn’t stop laughing and running.

We came back to the guesthouse, and had lunch. They made tomate rice, as I just told them the day before that I really liked it. It was such a nice act. Emily and I both layed down for a while in our rooms. The weather was very hot today.

Everyone at Grace school is astonished with Emily’s material for teaching. They all want to keep everything. Today children of the first group were very interested in learning. A pretty girl named Shabana wrote on the board “I love you Lucy”, I didn’t know what to do when I saw it. It really touched my heart. The second group though was very noisy, they got distracted very easily, but still they did their job.

This time we went earlier to SEAM, as we planned to go to see a classical indian dance. We played memory as usual, and a new game that Emily brought. They were very exited about it. Keerthna gave me a lovely kiss and hug me when she was sitted next to me. It meant the world for me, she is beautiful and so cheerful.

After SEAM, we went directly to Chennai main center were the dance was. Stephan, Sheeba and Roshan joined us. The music was great, and the dance was lovely. Roshan fell asleep during the performance, and almost everyone did during the way back to the house. We were all so hungry that nobody talked during the dinner. We went all directly to bed, it was a long, but very nice day.


Wednesday, 6th June, 2012

Quote - “The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” - B.B. King

Today is my fifth day here, Lucia’s fourth, and only our third day of working with the children, but a routine is now in place. Our morning started with breakfast with Stephan and Sheeba, we had boiled eggs and noodles, which both were delicious. Lucia and I both shared that we slept very well, and were ready for the day to begin. As we have the past two days, we took the twenty minute drive to Assisi Ilam, but there was a lot of traffic this morning, and it took us a little longer. As we approached the street, there was a big truck blocking our way, so we had to walk the rest of the way, which wasn’t bad. Once outside the gates though, we could hear many children crying. There was no consoling the children today, they just wanted their parents. The few children, who have been there for a few years now, weren’t upset, and looked at the other children weirdly. The crying did not stop, but we enjoyed ourselves anyways. We played with the 4 out of 11 kids who we weren’t crying and tried our best to comfort the others. We are slowly but surely learning all of the children’s names, but new ones are coming daily. After spending time at Assisi, we went back to the guest house for lunch and planned out our afternoon. We wanted to go see the Indian Classical Dance in the city, but the man running the operation asked us for a donation over the phone when Stephan had told him we were foreigners. Stephan decided that this particular show wasn’t a great one to go to because of that, so we will wait for later on this week or next. Instead we decided on shopping in Chennai at the government run store after we went to Grace. At Grace the students welcomed us with great enthusiasm as they have the past two days. Lucia and I separated into our separate classrooms and began teaching. Lucia told me that her class went very well today, as did mine. We both cut class a little short and painted the girls, and some boy’s finger nails with our polish. They were very excited, and amazed at the cheap price I paid in America for the nail polish.  At 3:30 when Grace School ended, Stephan (the driver) was waiting to bring us shopping. The store was three floors, very big, and had a lot of unique things. I bought a few things, and didn’t spend much, but Lucia wasn’t able to find what she was looking for. Once we were done, we returned to the guest house for just a few minutes and headed to SEAMS. Tonight was really great at SEAMS, the children were in great spirits for the most part, ready to play, but also to learn. I sat with two lovely girls and listened to them read an English story from their school books, while I helped them along. Lucia played the famous memory game with the other boys and girls. Tonight was especially touching at SEAMS though because a little boy, whose birthday was today, came with his family to bring sweets for the children at the orphanage. Stephan informed Lucia and I that this is a very common act for children’s birthdays. The kids enjoyed their cake, and the little boy gave Lucia and I some yummy chocolate. Seeing that little boy pass out the cake and candy really touched my heart. It made me reflect on how grand and overwhelming birthdays can be in America, when really this is no need.  “Do something good on your birthday” is what Stephan said, and I know that I will from now on.  I look forward to next week and a half that I am here in India, and know that I will experience more moments that warm my heart.


Tuesday, 5th June, 2012.

Quote - “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”  - Mother Teresa

As the passed two days, I couldn’t sleep so well. I woke up at three in the morning, and couldn’t fall asleep again. At 7:30am I was ready to take my first yoga class. It was good, the breeze made disappear a little bit the heat; but it was still very hot though. At 8:30 we had breakfast the four of us: Stephen, Sheeba, Emily and me. Roshan just started school so he wasn’t able to join us.

We took the ride to Assissi, where we played with the little kids. This time Dani felt much more confident with Emily, and didn’t let her for a second. He seemed to really enjoy while Emily was reading to him, he didn’t stop repeating everything she was saying. There were some new kids that cried for a while, but then they stopped and stayed a little bit more calm. I almost spend the hole time playing with Sandra and Adina. They both ran towards me so I could carry them in my arms and spin together. They also seemed very happy.

As we came home, we had lunch. It was really really good as the passed few days. After cleaning the table, we each went to our room to lay down for a while. I didn’t want to fall asleep so I could sleep well during the night, but I could’t handle it and I fell. It was good though, I didn’t wake up so tired.

As we got to Grace, all the kids started yelling. They received us wih great enthousiasm. To the first group I made them write and spell some numbers and things, and then we played bingo. After  we switched, I made the other group talk about their favorite colors, meals, main hobbies and what they would like to be when they grow up. Then we also played bingo. Emily told me that she also did fine in her classes. Time passed really fast for both of us.

In the moment we got to the house, we both went to our room again. I started reading a book that I found at the guesthouse about India, and Emily rested as well. We didn’t take a nap, so hopefully we both are going to sleep well tonight.

The children at SEAM are very nice. They were a few that we didn’t know as they are still coming back everyday from their relative’s house from holidays. By this time Emily was exausted, I think the heat doesn’t help at all. We both played with the boys and the balls, painted the girls nails and played a little while with the others that weren’t in the playground.

We had white rice, beans and vegetables curry for dinner. Time flew and that’s always a good sign. It was an amazing day for all of us. Kids definitely make everything better.


Monday 4th June, 2012

Dwell in possibility”  - Emily Dickinson

Today was the first day of our volunteer work in Chennai, India. It started out as the past two days had started; breakfast with Stephan, his wonderful wife Sheeba, except it was a little later, and we were missing Roshan, as today was his first day back to school.  We first went to Assisi Ilam and met the devoted Sisters’ who take care of the orphanage. During the day, Assisi serves as a daycare center for families who are trying to better themselves with a job or education. We arrived to a few crying babies, but were welcomed by many more. We played with the toys that they had there, and also brought a blow up ball, which was a big hit! They loved rolling, and throwing the ball, and there was one little girl that we had to keep reminding to share. Lucia and I then went back to the guest house to refresh ourselves a little, and wait for lunch. We were able to get to know each other a little better during this time, and we also kept our families and friends up to date with Facebook and email. We are both very pleased that we have wifi at the guest house. After lunch we went to Grace School, and met with the principal and teachers there. We shared some about our lives, and where we come from, and learned about the school, the students, and the staff that make it possible. Lucia and I were then given a class of our own to teach for 45 minutes, and then we switched. The children were so eager to learn, and are very smart already. We talked about our favorite things, what they did over vacation (today was also there first day back), read some stories, and did some mathematics. Division was their choice, and they were very excited to show me what they could do. After we finished teaching our students, and they left for the day, we took the short ride back to the guest house to relax for a few hours. Lucia and I are both battling jet lag, and can’t seem to stop napping. Around 5pm, we headed to the SEAM Orphanage, where we met the children who live there. There weren’t many students today because they have been away for summer vacation, but as the week goes on, more and more will come. We spoke with the man who started SEAM many years ago, and reflected on his inspiration, which was very touching. Lucia played a matching game with the girls, while I played dodge ball with the boys…I’m not sure how that happened, but it was fun! It was very hot though, so I could only play a few games, and then the boys agreed to play JINGO, which is the human body version of Bingo. We also tossed around the globe blow up ball that has been very popular today, and I was able to show the students where I was from. They all said how far it was, and I had to agree.  Today has been an amazing day, and getting to know the children has made being away from my own family much easier, although I still miss them! The children are such happy children, and you can’t help but smile around them. I am very happy to be here in India, and look forward to the next two weeks, working with the children and creating memories that I will never forget.