Today is my last full day in India, and I'm just bursting inside with all the love and sadness I'm feeling right now. This has been a truly amazing experience. Last night, Anne and I had a final dance party with our LifeDance kids and in addition to all the yummy treats, we also had a dance performance entirely run by the kids themselves. After performing their brand new group pieces (which they have learned in 2 weeks and they are looking amazing), the kids showed us their very own pieces that they put together themselves. There was an extraordinary dance number put together by the girls, and "Circus" piece set with tricks and stunts by the boys. But the best part was the astounding creativity shown by Deepen and Ashok. These boys put together THREE pieces complete with costumes, lighting, music (specially edited just the way they wanted it) makeup (facepaint) and props! None of these kids had never done their own choreography before, and it blew me away to see their confidence and enthusiasm really shine through.
Anyway, so when the boys walked out in their first costume, we ALL squealed like little 13 year old girls at a Bieber concert. They were serious studs. I've never seen Deepen dance bigger or better than he did last night.
After that they did an awesome thriller piece, and let me just say I was speechless watching this piece. They had thought of everything for this piece down to audience interaction. Check out their outfits
I'm going to miss these kids so much!
Looking back at my time in India, I realize I've received so much from this experience. I've been changed by the patients I've worked with at Medical each week. Their joy and kindess blows me away. They look for opportunities to give from the little that they have despite being cast aside by their people. Additionally, the medical teams dedication to the work that they do is inspiring to me. Each week they made me feel like a member of the team, and I am so grateful to all of them for their example to me. I'm going to miss going out with them every week.
At this school, I've fallen in love with all of these children. When I first arrived, I was told that my 5th standard English class was one of the hardest group of kids to teach. They said good luck, and let me loose in the classroom. Needless to say, I was a bit terrified, but as it turns out, I loved teaching those kids, and they worked hard for me! I'm so proud of them and all they have accomplished. Nagalakshmi was so dedicated, she asked that i work on extra English worksheets with her in the evening. Even though she struggles with reading, G. Devi would volunteer to read over and over again, and she loved to hear me tell stories every night. Gracy is the sweetest girl I know, and she is such an example to the other kids, and Ashwin: even though he is new to the school, he dove right in and never gives up. On our last day of class, the kids presented me with a beautiful big barrette, and many love notes and christmas cards. Receiving an actual gift from these kids blew me away, because they have nothing, but from the little that they have they gave something to me.
I don't know how I'm going to manage to say goodbye to this place. I've learned so much about gratitude and generosity and love and joy, and I walk away having received so much more than I could even try to give.
Even though I am leaving India, I will continue to post about the experience I had, because there are many things I have not yet written about, so stay tuned!