Through faith that's not my own
It is the gift of God and not by works
Lest anyone should boast"
Well yesterday was my last day at school. It was sad but I am so thankful for the time that I was given there. Those kids are simply amazing and I will never forget the experience I had with them. We had a celebration at the school for the one year anniversary. The kids put on a dance performance and they all did great! I was so proud of them! My friends even took the day off from their placements to come watch. It was great.
This is Abhinandan dancing at the 1 year anniversary party for the school (a.k.a. the last day of school before break). He was one of my students that I worked with one on one, and although he could be a real stinker some days, he was an awesome little man. Now, I say he was a stinker because I think he was the only one that eventually figured out that I didn't speak much Hindi and he took advantage of it. Grrr. Frustrating, but I couldn't help but laugh. You have to give the kid some credit for being so clever.
Now here are possibly the two cutest little boys I will ever meet. Pratiech and Ansul.
Pratiech's nickname was Shiva. This is the name of the Hindu god of destruction. I think that is explanation enough. It was his way or no way at all. And then when it's all done, he clapped just to rub it in. But once again, so irresistible. Ansul is a sweetheart through and through and I am convinced that he is going to be a professional break dancer when he grows up. He also loves to be tickled and to give you high fives. It's the coolest thing EVER. (Randi, Ansul has a broken wing too.. this may or may not be one of the reasons why I was partial to him.)
Bottom line, I've known them for only 3 weeks but I love these boys.
This is Anchal. She was also one of my students and possibly my favorite. She is so joyful... all the time. She loves to dance but she gets a little stage fright (there were tears shed). She loves to learn. Her smile is to die for.. not to mention her hugs and she loves the book "Brown Bear Brown Bear What do you See?" by Eric Carle, which automatically puts her on my good list. The words I use to describe her don't do any justice to who she is and how big her heart is. I really wish all of you could meet her.
Mission accomplished. We found the waterfall. Aimee, Beth, Hillela and I all went back up to McLeod Ganj to take the right road and complete what we had hoped to earlier this week. The hike was beautiful and the views left us speechless. We found another little shopping/cafe area that was fun to look around and apparently we were the source of entertainment for a group of old men who wanted pictures taken with the four white girls. We asked them to return the favor and take a picture of us... one of the men proceeded to take a picture with Beth's camera. All we saw was his enlarged eyeball in the viewing screen as he held the camera backward. It took everything in me not to start laughing hysterically at the poor guy. We decided that getting our picture at that point was a lost cause and continued on our hike. After about a 3k walk up the mountain we reached the waterfall, took some pictures, and spent some time with a few locals who ran a cafe at the water's edge. We did all of this just in time for it to start pouring. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed hiking down the mountain in the pouring rain. I was soaked but I loved every minute of it. It's always so great to come back home and get all cozy for the night too. Mmmm. Love it.
Today, I went with Beth to her daycare just to check it out. I don't know for sure where I am going to be working for the rest of my time here but I thought I would use some of the time to see what other people are doing. The kids at the day care were so cute and full of energy! I pulled out the claw and they went crazy! It was fabulous! I'm not sure who had more fun... the kids, the teacher watching us, or me. We made newspaper hats with them which were destroyed soon after and some were even used as mid-afternoon snacks. Kids...
We arrived back to Chamba Cottage and everyone was riled up about something. We asked what was going on and apparently somewhere in our front yard there was a 6 foot black snake that decided to drop in for a visit this afternoon. How kind, I know. Normally, I would be freaked out and go in the house, but I was feeling a tad adventurous and decided to go on a snake hunt today. To our disappointment we did not find the snake. Better luck next time.
This evening we went on another hike to "St. Johns in the Wilderness" and the Tibetan Children's village. The church was nice and I might try to attend a service on Sunday. I figured it might be kind of neat. Then there was the Tibetan Children's Village... we just kind of wandered in. I don't know if we were allowed but we did it anyway. This is a community and school that has been set up for Tibetan children that have fled Tibet without their parents. Basically, they are orphans. However, they have been provided a place to stay and an education in upper Dharamsala. The main focus here is to preserve the values and tradition of the Tibetan culture. It's a really cool idea but I feel bad for all the children that have no idea where their parents are or if they'll be able to see them again. I can't imagine going through what the Tibetan people have been going through over the past 50 years. Lastly, this was our third significant hike of the trip... the first 2 times it rained. We got soaked. This time wasn't any different. We were in the middle of the rainstorm up on top of the mountain and could see the cloud moving in to surround us. I was IN a cloud today!
Everyone went to a band performance tonight but a couple of us decided to hang back and chill at home tonight. I'll have to catch the band again some other night...
Love to all.
"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim
the work of his hands.
Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they display knowledge.
There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.
Their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world."
Psalm 19: 1-4