Today was my last day at Odanadi (at least on this trip). I had been anticipating this in the past few days and was not sure how it would be. I finally was able to spend some time with the US7 (or five in this case) as some of them could not make it. Some of the younger children wanted to come into the classroom and see what was going on, but it was important for the older ones to have their own time. After going through some activities such as having them re-state the habits Sharon and Will had taught them, we moved to another activity where they had to make up their own animal and present it to everyone. We also did some pair-sharing and reflections on goal setting. The intent was to have them practice their spoken and written English, public-speaking and self-confidence.
I really enjoyed doing these activities with them and it was apparent that although some of them were not as confident, they were definitely enjoying practicing their English and preparing for their US trip! A slight hitch in their journey though is getting passports, as many of them don’t have birth certificates or don’t know where they were born, and in some cases who either of the parent(s) are. A lot of court and other official office visits have bene made and slowly but surely progress is being made for them to be able to come to the US. I’ll keep you all posted as I hear any updates on this.
I went to meet Stanly’s wife and ended up having lunch there with them. They have a three and a half month old daughter – Himania and a three and a half-year old Honey. I spent some time talking with Kumi about her NGO – V Care Basics that uses art, such as classical Indian dance as a form of therapy. Very interesting and innovative stuff.
I had promised the children I wouldn’t be gone for too long, so I returned to Odanadi and had them present the imaginary animal they had made up. This was a fun activity, especially as they shared the noise their animal would make :)
The day with them ended by teaching them how to play Scrabble. They found the game mildly challenging given their English abilities, but were determined to learn how to play and improve their vocabulary in a friendly and competitive way. I had some of them record video messages for Sharon Sister, Will Brother and Tina Sister and others gave me hugs and told me to come back again soon. Others asked me to not go and stay longer.
Since it was Sunday, it was TV day and not wanting to make a big deal I said bye to all the children I could find. I don’t think they even realized it was my last day and in some way I preferred it that way. I think some of the children had assumed and/or hoped I would bring chocolate/cake on my last day. But after taking to Stanly the day before I decided that I would not do that in an effort to support Stanly and Parashur’s teaching to the children of valuing volunteer’s for the time they give and the people they are versus any material or fleeting treats they may share with the children.
If it was a weekday and the children were all doing chores or just playing, it would have been difficult to leave. I don’t know if I could have said good-bye without crying – so the low key exit was a good way to leave Odanadi. When time and other factors allow I will go back again to spend time with the children. Words like “tunta” (naughty boy), “munga” (monkey) and “tunti” (naughty girl) will stay with me and always make me smile for the memories and the precious faces they will always remind me of.
I’ll sign off now as I need a moment to just be and send them all my love and positivity so that their lives will be happy, safe and free from the troubles that have and do plague them on a daily basis. Every day I would tell them “nare sigona” – I’ll come back/see you tomorrow …. and I say the same to you all.