Starting the third week fills me with bittersweet feelings. I think back to the weeks previously full of exploration, discovery and new friendships, and then look ahead at my last two weeks leaving me with a sadness that I only have 11 days left to witness the unique experience Project WHY affords its volunteers. I only have 11 more days to take in a vibrant and welcoming culture that has embraced me
I have discovered over the two weeks teaching, that sometimes the lessons aren’t as important or as impactful as the connections made with the students or the people. After the first day or two, I began to feel the bonds forming and with open arms I welcomed each and every one. So far, I have had the luxury of watching my boys, because that’s what they are to me now, gain confidence in themselves conversing in English. I’ve experienced my girls’ gleeful exploration of new kinds of movement with absolute trust in me. Both would not have been possible without the long-lasting connections with the kids that I have been able to establish.
This past weekend was when it finally hit me, that my time in India would be coming to a close. Lohri, a Sikh festival was celebrated on Friday night and Beja and I went out exploring once we got back to the flat. The small fires dotted around the opening of doorways enticed us to see what the festivities were about, we happened upon a fire surrounded by families living nearby. At first, we were able to stand back and observe the dancing and joy but we were quickly pulled into the festivities, dancing around the fire to some unknown dance. Yesterday, Beja left and all of us volunteers were aware that two weeks from her departure, we would be departing as well. But, the awareness that the days and weeks were passing so quickly was halted by exploration.
Looking back at my first couple of weeks in India, I was able to explore the more touristy areas of Rajasthan solo. I quickly learned how interactions occurred and how my existence in this cultural society differed from what I had experienced previously in my travels. Then when arriving at Project WHY, I was given further insights into an NGO whose goal is to create an inclusive and accepting atmosphere and community. An NGO that gives hope to the heart’s it reaches.