Friday, September 20, 2013

September 9th - September 13th
What an amazing experience and more than I could have ever imagined.

Working with the kids has been uplifting and, I don't know, just awesome.

Awesome in the true meaning of the word. I'm in awe of these kids.  They have a lot going against them, but they are so dang happy.

There are three groups of kids and one college student that I work with. One group is around the pre-school range ( Assisi Illam ), two that are elementary school age ( older kids at Assisi illam and Seam's Children's Home ), and one college student who got special permission to stay at Seam Children's Home.

When I first arrived the kids were so incredibly excited. They never met me before and came running up to say hi to their new uncle.

Uncle is what the little kids call any male figure that is older to them. This can be a bit funny at first but the real shock is when they called me "Ma-Ma". "Ma-Ma" is Tamil for uncle.  Great stuff.

With the different groups there are different approaches, sometimes one on one, sometimes group games, sometimes singing, and sometimes just goofing around having fun.

The goal is two parts Love and English.

The first part is to show them love, and give them attention (they have one adult for every 30 of them). I could not imagine what life is like with so little attention growing up. This really hit home with one of the kids homework assignments. Sophie asked me to draw a picture of a happy family. So I drew my parents, my sisters, my nieces, my brothers in law and my dog blue. I come from a family of 50+ when you count the aunts uncles, cousins and grandparents. Sophie on the other hand drew the kids in her orphanage. That is her family. That's something I knew but to see that drawn, and so different from mine. Missing pieces, but filling them in with her friends, is so sad, but ok at the same time.

The second part of teaching them English can be a lot of fun. The middle aged kids are the easiest. They can speak English fairly well and you are there to have fun and play games Nd just talk to them. The youngest ones are a bit more of a challenge.  They have a short attention span, and you have no idea how much they are actually receiving.  With these kids mainly I've been reading stories and helping them practice their ABC's.

As a side note they sing their ABC's different here.  They repeat LMNOP twice in the song and have a different ending.  All the songs tend to be a bit off, in a funny way to be completely honest.

The last project I've been working on is helping a 21 year old Rajesh practice interviewing. He is in computer science and knows his stuff.  In India, though, English is the business language'.  This makes interviews a little different. The first round is a group topic discussion in English, second round is an English test, and after that you prove you can do the job you are being hired for. Due to this I'm working with Rajesh on having conversations on technical topics.

The final side project has been hanging up mosquito netting where they live. It's a simple project, but I can't imagine sleeping in a place surrounded by Mosquitos at night. Oh it my thumb a couple of times, but totally worth it.

I would say that I've had more amazing experiences than I've had in some years. Two more weeks to come, and I can't wait

- Mike