Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Day 19 - 31Jul2012

I woke up this morning with the surreal realization that this is my last morning here at Rising Star.  I feel as though the time has flown by...and yet, I feel like I've lived in India for a very long time.

My last rotation was construction, but we didn't go out to the colonies.  Instead, we stayed at the school.  They spilt us up into two groups.  The first group spent the day cleaning the grounds of Rising Star.  The second group, the group I was in, spent the day in the school's clinic putting covers on and binding the kids' medical record books.  It obviously wasn't as strenuous as normal construction.  The kids would stop by and visit us in between classes and during recess.  I looked out the door of the clinic into the school's field...I can't believe I'm leaving.

During our downtime between rotations and play time, we all had to pack.  It was bittersweet.  I'm ready to go home, but now that it is really happening, I'm not as excited as I thought I'd be.  Amy and I had a few clothes that needed to be washed before we packed them, but since the wash wouldn't be done in time, we had to do it ourselves.  Up until now, we've had awesome Elephant House maids that did our laundry for us.  Amy and I washed our clothes in buckets and hung them on clotheslines.  Yet another thing I take for granted...washers and dryers.  It wouldn't want to wash my clothes like this every day, but it was a fun experience.

Jayanthi and Anitha

Vicky and Peter
The kids were extremely mellow tonight at play time.  I think they were a bit somber because they know we are leaving early tomorrow morning (3:00am).  I was able to take pictures of and with all my favorites.  Vicky was by my side the whole time.  Our connection really only took hold a few days ago.  He helped me find the kids I wanted pictures with and was my own personal photographer.  I told him he should go into photography when he grew up and get paid to do it.  He just smiled.

Dinner was delicious.  I actually like the curry they serve on Tuesdays.  All of the volunteers took turns saying what they hope to take back with them.  I said perspective...perspective about what really matters in life.  I watched the sunset through the palm trees as I listened to the experiences that everyone else had here.  I still can't believe I'm leaving.  

After dinner, we headed over to the dining hall.  The kids were going to dance and sing for us.  The performances were so cute.  I sat with Jayanthi part of the time.  She seemed a little melancholy and she told me she was sad that I was leaving.  After the performances, the volunteers stood in a line and every child said goodbye to every volunteer.  I was crying as soon as they got into their houses to start the procession.  I cried more with some than with others.  When Jayanthi reached me she gave me a huge hug.  She quickly moved on before I got to look at her face.  The line continued and a few minutes later I heard her behind me..."Kelsey."  I turned around and she had tears streaming down her face and her eyes were welled up with more.  I gave her a huge hug again and then tilted her head up to look at her in the eyes.  Tears were streaming down my face as well, but I managed an "I love you."  She hugged me again and Mymonisha helped her walk away.  She waved a little...I had no idea I was so attached to her and the other kids.  As the line moved on I said goodbye to Satish, Aravind, Kristraj, Vicky, Gracy, Agalya, Anitha, Vimal, Vignesh, Ranjith...the list goes on an on.  Every child that made an impact on my life here...Ranjith was fine through the line until he got to me.  He also gave me a huge hug and tears welled up in his eyes.  As he walked away, I turned and called his name.  He smiled and waved goodbye.  Some kids wished me a "happy journey."  Others told me not to cry and wiped the tears from my cheeks.  I can't imagine being these little ones and having to say goodbye to all the volunteers who come through here.  What an example they have set for me of unconditional love...I love them.  I will miss them.

Afterwards, we had to clean the Elephant House to prepare it for the next batch of volunteers.  My group was in charge of cleaning the bathrooms and the Mango room (the common area).  The coordinators had a surprise for us.  They put together a cute slide show of our time here.  It is amazing all he things that can happen in a couple of weeks.

Rising Star Outreach of India...such an amazing experience.

Day 19 - Complete

Firsts/Realizations: I don't have to travel half way around the world to do service. 

1 comment:

  1. I do service for the humane society 2-3 days a week after work. There is something unbelievably rewarding in doing something for others they could never do for themselves. I love it, and am so happy for you have had such a rewarding experience. I'd love to hear about it when you get back!