Church was good. Went to playtime and
played some soccer, some cricket, and some volleyball with the boys.
Watched “Pocahontas” that night with Jamesen and Kaylee. Good,
This week of classes is my only week to
prepare the students for their final performance. Did partner
initiation with 8th standard and they did great! I was
very impressed. Google+ with the family. Used a cute book called
“Head to Toe” by Eric Carle for UKG and 1st standard
that they will be doing for the performance. 5th standard
also did well. They are making partner shapes on different levels.
Went to UKG playtime. Had a small rehearsal for Dr. Susan's birthday
dance. Great classes today! LifeDance was a bit chaotic today though.
Got two new short term volunteers. Their names are Katherine and
Elizabeth. They are sisters and they are great! Went to story time
with the new volunteers.
After running, I Google+ with Celsea
for a bit. Had 6th standard first. They were pretty crazy
as usual. Good kids, but you put them together and they like to goof
off. Made lunch and Skyped with Shaun Parry and got some good ideas.
Had 3rd standard and they were great! Did a different book
lesson with them and they ate it up! 7th standard next.
They were hard to get to move! Crazy how I can't get 6th
standard to stop moving and can't get 7th standard to
move! Good for me to learn to teach all kinds of students. Stayed and
stretched after class with my dear Priya :) LifeDance went pretty
well. Helped at night school, went to story time.
Had 9th standard first this
morning. Worked on choreography and music cutting for LifeDance. 4th
standard next went pretty well. The volunteers came and helped out.
Had 2nd standard next and all the volunteers came again.
The kids were crazy. They recently got a new teacher so they do not
listen. Even with all of us volunteers in there it was a struggle.
Went to UKG playtime and had a good time with the little critters :)
LifeDance went very well today. Hung out with Katherine and
Elizabeth. Went to story time. Theerthi taught me how to write my
name in Tamil and made me practice it on my hand :) She tried to
teach me how to say a few lines from her Tamil storybook as well but
then just laughed at me as I tried to pronounce them :) Lots of fun
Went to medical today. We went to two
colonies: Gandhi colony and A.S. Nagar. Only 2 patients at Gandhi
colony. I spent most of my time there playing with a darling little
4-year-old girl named Keerthina. She is beautiful! She showed me her
umbrella, picked up the stray cats that came by, we blew up a medical
latex glove and played with it like a balloon, danced, all sorts of
things! Her mother, grandma, and aunt showed Kaylee and I pictures of
her family as well. These people are so sweet and so family-oriented!
They are so proud of their families. Did oiling at A.S. Nagar. Had an
excursion afterwards. We went on a short hike up a hill to a temple
over 3,000 years old. Beautiful view from up there!! Had our
long-term volunteer meeting at 4 and then had LifeDance. Helped at
Today was the day for Dr. Susan's
special birthday celebration! Got ready and blew up balloons for the
event. Practiced with the students for the dance. The decorations
they had were very pretty! It is never a “small event” in India.
It is always elaborate with all kinds of decorations and accessories.
But it is very beautiful and colorful! After much preparation, Dr.
Susan came. The choir sang, Vimal played the piano, words were
spoken, cards were given, and my dance was done. The kids did a good
job! Dr. Susan seemed to like it very much! It was long but good.
They handed out sweets as we left. Today was education rotation so I
helped Subedha read for library time. After lunch, we helped 1st
standard with their math computer games. Then had 9th
standard for library time and I read with my sweet Divya. Last was
library with 6th standard and I read with Naveen. Went to
UKG playtime. LifeDance taught their own class today. It was a bit
chaotic, but the younger kids who came loved it! It is good
leadership and teaching experience for LifeDance as well. Played
games that night after dinner. Went to story time.
Went to Mammallapuram again today. Did
some shopping. Helped Katherine and Elizabeth do some bartering.
Walked along the beach before we left. Good day! Played more games
that night after dinner. Went to movie night. Sat with boys and the
UKG boys fell asleep on me. Good day!!
Left for church at 7. Today is the
birthday of the Relief Society, so we had a great sacrament meeting
about motherhood and women. Stopped at Reliance on the way home and
they were still out of peanut butter! Oh dear. Played basketball with
some 5th standard boys at playtime and it was a blast! I
miss basketball! They asked us volunteers to sing the opening song
for prayer time. Another beautiful sunset tonight! Great dinner and
watched “Aladdin.” Good day.
This week the students have testing so
I don't have any of my regular classes. So today I did the community
outreach rotation. We painted the spikes on the wall black. It was
kinda hard but we had fun. Did some housekeeping things for school
till LifeDance. Went to some of night school and story time.
Corrected LifeDance journals until
medical. Went to Polunbakkam colony. This was my first time to this
colony. It is large and very nice! It is run by the Damien
Organization rather than the government, so it is kept up well and
they have more amenities. There are some very nice and happy patients
here! I did washing. Many sweet moments at this colony with the
patients there. For the excursion after, we went to an old, abandoned
hospital that is now open to anyone with leprosy. Right as I stepped
off the van I met a sweet lady who hugged me and when I asked her her
name, she yelled it out loudly with a big smile :) I just love these
people!! The patients were eating lunch, so we went into their dining
hall and we sang some hymns to them. The Spirit was very strong and I
felt very grateful at that moment. Visited one other abandoned hostel
before we left. It was where volunteers used to stay who would help
at that hospital. Had LifeDance that evening. Since the kids are
having to focus all day, they are having a hard time continuing to
focus. They are a bit burned out by the end of the day, but rehearsal
went pretty well. Met two people who came to visit Rising Star. One
is a woman who taught at RSO a few years ago. She came and made
plasters for orthotics for Usha, one of the students here, because
her feet are so flat and it is causing her pain. Then I will take
them back to Utah with me and this woman's podiatrist will make
orthotics for Usha. It's awesome to see so many people help these
students! This woman also brought a friend with her. His name is
Father Thomas. He runs a hospice just a few miles away with about 125
people who are on their death bed, mentally ill, handicapped, or
blind. He is an incredible man! So patient! He is like a modern-day
and male Mother Theresa. It was great to talk to him! He brought 3
children with him from the hospice and Kaylee and I went and played
with them for a while before dinner. Went to story time. Read Indian
Tales to Subha and Mispa. Great day!
Got to FaceTime with Alex this morning!
Miss her. Left at 9 am for Vandalur colony. It is a bigger colony,
but not many patients today. Played with the cute baby goats for a
while before we set up. One of the patients, sweet Abraham, said a
prayer before and after the patients came through. Did a lot of
hanging out with the patients today. There are some really funny
people at this colony! It is a bit more run down and dirty, but the
people are so happy and helpful. We went to the Vandalur Zoo for the
excursion afterwards. It was fun! We rode a small bus around to see
the animals. We were the next attraction after the animals! We saw
monkeys, birds, white tigers, giraffes, hippos, and more. Some
animals were inside because it was so hot, but we saw a few. Lots of
good “India moments” today :) LifeDance went well today. Stopped
and talked with Dr. Vigi for a while. She is so great! The president,
Sally Read, got here today, so chatted with her. She is so sweet and
spoils us! She brought us homemade cookies! We all just sat around
and ate them and hung out. Haven't tasted something this good in a
long time! Read stories to 2 different rooms at the boys hostel for
Today we went on a micro-grant tour! It
was a great day! Anna was a great tour guide telling us about all of
the beneficiaries at Bhathalapuram. This is such a big colony! We met
a barber, saw lavatories that had been built, ran into an Indian
politician, saw 3 small shops that had been created, saw the tailor,
met a carpenter who is also a snake catcher, visited 'Pearls with a
Purpose', met a woman who makes and sells bathroom cleaners, a woman
who has a cable TV business, and spent a few minutes at the
cresh/nursery with the little children. We visited the sweet
Mooniyama who loves to kiss our hands and offer us juice and
biscuits. We went to the Bindu Art School, where I finally chose a
painting and took a picture with the artist. I also got to meet
Theerthi's mother. Throughout these adventures, we talked to many
people and took many pictures. It really is a great community here!
It is cool to see all of the good that RSO has done for these people.
They are thriving. When we got back I wrote my script to M/C the
final performance. Went to play with the UKG kids, but they had to
get vaccinations today so we just sat and encouraged them instead.
They were all so tough! Only a few tears :) Had volunteer meeting at
4 and then had LifeDance. LifeDance went really well! Love these
kids! Ended up teaching many of them how to do “the worm” after
class :) Had a nice dinner and hung out with volunteers. It is
starting to get really hot here now and I am feeling it! FaceTimed
with mom, went to story time at Kala's room. These boys are so funny!
Mogalvadi colony today! It is my
favorite :) It is also my last day of medical too. Good to start and
finish on Mogalvadi. There are only 7 people at this colony but they
are all just so happy! They all have such a light about them. I did
washing. We did lots of singing, chatting, and lots of dancing at the
end! Jayaraj is one great dancer! I will miss him!! Had an excursion
to a temple dedicated to Mary afterward. So many stairs! The temple
was cool though and we met lots of funny, sweet girls. Went to UKG
playtime when we got back. Made a program/handout for the final
performance on Monday. Had LifeDance. Taught some tap today and they
loved it! It's a new concept for them, but many of them picked it up
quickly. Helped at night school and then had to say goodbye to Tom
and Urvasi. I can't believe they are leaving! They have been here 10
months. They are great people! Going to miss them a lot!
Got up at 5 am and said goodbye to
Katherine and Elizabeth. I will miss them! Left for Chennai at 8 am
with just the 4 of us long-term volunteers: Anna, Kaylee, Jamesen,
and I. We decided to go to an amusement park called “Queensland”
and we had a blast! Walked around, went on a lot of rides, rode a
tram, bumper cars, got food, went to the pool at the end. The rides
were probably not US safety approved, but that's what made it more
adventuresome :) Reminded me a lot of Lagoon but not as nice. So much
was based off of American things and it was really funny to see how
they portray Americans. Lots of funny moments throughout the day.
For the last hour and a half, we went to the pool. It was segregated
boys and girls. I was only planning on wading in but then got
splashed so much by a little girl that I just went all the way in in
my clothes. I met these hilarious young nursing students who dragged
me over to their group of friends. There were about 20 of them. We
talked, swam, danced a lot, laughed, splashed, etc. It was so fun!!
They were great! Forgot any problems and I was just completely in the
moment :) I love to watch them dance! So cool to see where there
inner rhythm comes from and what is natural to them. Tells so much
about a culture! Went to last few minutes of playtime. We got 4 new
volunteers today. They are from the Netherlands and I love hearing
them speak Dutch! They are here with another organization called
“Kikindia” and they paid for the sickbay/hospital on campus so
they came to officially open it. Went to movie night–my favorite!
Sat with older girls first, then moved to younger girls, then went
over to the boys. Sweet Ranjith came straight to me and sat on my lap
when he saw me. I had 5 boys sleeping or leaning on me at the same
time. It makes all of my limbs fall asleep but I absolutely love it
My new roommate, Natasha, got in early
this morning. She is here for 2 weeks. Showed her around. Left for
church at 7. Today was branch conference. The sister missionaries
grabbed us volunteers and quickly prepared us for a choir number for
the special musical number. Always impromptu :) For sharing time in
Primary, had a district primary leader teach and she was wonderful!
Went to Spencer's mall after church. Did some shopping and had Subway
for lunch! Vijay from the branch also joined us. Went to last half of
playtime. These kids are what is going to make it so hard to leave.
Performance day! Ran with Kaylee and it
was so foggy you could hardly see in front of you. I felt like I was
running through a cloud and water droplets kept sticking to my
eyelashes. It was cool :) Had a nice chat with Anna and Sally that
were some things I needed to hear. Got to Google+ with the fam for a
long time. Got costumes and music and such ready for the performance.
Called a rehearsal at 1for LifeDance so we could practice. At 2 pm,
we had the opening of the hospital. It was, of course, a grand event.
All the students sat and watched. There were many flowers and
decorations around the area and given to the Kikindia volunteers. I
was asked to take pictures so I floated around. I love how
embellished and long everything is in India. Really shows a lot about
their culture. They lit candles, gave speeches, cut the ribbon, had a
dedicatory prayer, Anna's choir sang, and Kiki gave out cookies to
the students. It was a good event! Then we all walked over to the
dining hall for the dance performances. Went well! Gave some opening
remarks, and jumped right into the program. They have a different
idea of manners in India at dance events, so it was hard to keep
everyone quiet. So I didn't get to announce each number as well as I
would have liked to, but the kids did a great job! It's so wonderful
to see how much they light up when they are on stage! At the end,
Jamesen and Kaylee got everyone to chant my name and they made me
dance. I just did some contemporary improv for a minute or two. Then
went to a prayer ceremony for 10th standard. It was really
beautiful. They have their exams soon that decide which school they
will go to for 11th and 12th standard. Had
LifeDance for just half an hour. Just did some relaxation with them
since they were all so tired and then just turned on music for those
who wanted to stay and we just danced and hung out. Went to story
time and just chatted that night. A good day of much celebration!
The school is trying a 20-day program
for the rest of the school year, so my schedule has now changed. I
will only have one class a day for the next two weeks I am here. So
had my first class right after lunch with UKG. Did a balancing lesson
and they loved it! The volunteers came as well and had a good time.
Wrote my LifeDance kids notes. Had LifeDance. Taught an old hip hop
combo of mine and they just ate it up and now want to practice it all
the time! The kids have free time in the evenings now, so we went
over and had the kids write thank you notes to the grocery store that
sent the cookies that Kiki gave out. So just walked around the
hostels and monitored them. It was fun! Went to girls hostel for
story time and chatted with Megala and Jennifer.
Had 1st standard today. They
were great and are just absolutely adorable! I will miss teaching
them! LifeDance went alright. Had the kids make thank you cards again
tonight. Taught sign language to a bunch of girls at story time. They
are such quick learners and they love it! And I love teaching it to
them too. That night we planned for the talent show tomorrow night
that they asked us volunteers to do.
Had 2nd standard today. They
were pretty wild. I am grateful to have at least one class a day but
I do miss the days where I taught 4 or 5 classes. Makes me grateful
that I had so many weeks of that. Just walked around and hung out
with the kids for a while. Had some good discussions with Natasha.
LifeDance went well. Prepared for the talent show. The show was a big
hit! Lily taught some songs, Anna sang, Dale danced, the Kikindia
volunteers taught “The Macarena,” I danced, then we did the
midget dancing we planned. We had one person be in between two sheets
with their arms in pants so it looked like legs and someone else
stood behind, unseen, as their arms. It was hilarious and the kids
loved it! Then we did getting ready for the day with someone else as
their arms. By the end I had shampoo all over my hair, lotion
everywhere, toothpaste all over my face, as well as mascara
everywhere. It was pretty great :) Laughed a lot that night as we
reflected on the talent show and chatted with the Kikindia volunteers
who left that night except for Catarina who is here for another week
and a half.
Helped Kaylee teach an English class of
UKG and 1st standard students that they asked her to
teach. They are a bit crazy! We tried to come up with all kinds of
creative ways to teach them the concepts. Taught 3rd
standard today and they were great as always! They were so focused
and loved the balancing lesson. Talked with my dear Mariyam for a
good 25 minutes. She was telling me all about her life. Ate lunch,
helped Kaylee some more. Wrote in some of the kids' memory books
until LifeDance. LifeDance went alright. Another great sunset
tonight. Lily brought us jackfruit to try tonight! It's yummy! Went
to the boys' hostel for free time and we played board games. One is
similar to billiards or pool, and we also played “Snakes and
Ladders.” Then just hung out outside with some boys doing yoga and
tricks and such. Going to miss these boys! The power went out
multiple times tonight so we had lots of fun sneaking around and
scaring each other for a while :)
Left for Mammallapuram again at 8 am.
Four students have been extra good and they earned a trip with us! So
we had Michael, Bala, Vimal, and Divya with us. It was so fun! We
went and saw some of the temple ruins first. We did a little
shopping, and spent the rest of the time at the beach. Just jumped in
in our clothes again. We played on the sand, swam, found treasures,
all sorts of stuff. Fun day! The kids fell asleep on my lap on the
ride home. Long day for them :) Went to the end of playtime and
played some volleyball. Kaylee accidentally kicked it into the well
of the sewage treatment plant so then we had an adventure fishing it
out with a bucket and rope :) Went to movie night and sat with
younger girls who fell asleep on me after they did my hair. Love
these kids! These girls are so sweet! The only downside of the day
was getting bit by a giant ant thing and my finger became swollen and
was sore for a few days.
Church was good. My primary lesson went
well. Stopped at Reliance on the way home and got treats for my
students. Got stuck in some traffic on the way back but not too long.
Played soccer at playtime with the girls. It was fun! Went to Dale
and Lily's apartment for dinner. She made pasta, mashed potatoes,
salad, and grapes! All things I have not had since I have been here
and it was amazing! I forgot how much I missed these foods! We played
a game after eating and then we went to free time with the kids.
Snuggled with the girls, played, sang, danced, taught some more ASL
to the older girls, told stories, etc. Just chatted in girls' hostel
for story time.
Good chat with the family in the
morning after run. Wrote in more memory books. Taught 4th
standard. I did a “Chance Dance” lesson and they loved it! They
did so good! Lunch, helped Kaylee with her class for an hour. Helped
the nurses with an inventory sheet by checking their English and
making it sound official. LifeDance went pretty well. Gave a little
speech about motivation after and they listened well. Sat with the
girls for free time. We danced and I taught more ASL. Went to story
time in Buji's room.
Happy April Fools' Day! :) Had to say
goodbye to one of the housemothers who is leaving today. So sad!
Listened to the Young Woman's broadcast and wrote in more memory
books. Got an exciting email today. I found out that I received the
Dee Winterton 'Spirit of Dance' Award and half tuition scholarship! I
felt so honored! What a wonderful surprise! The Lord works in
mysterious ways, but He really knows what's best. Had 5th
standard and they were also very good! They just love to dance and
they had great focus. Wrote in more memory books and had a LifeDance
presidency meeting. LifeDance was not great today. Went to free time
and hung out with the boys. We played lots of Ninja and just goofed
around. It's so good for them to have some free time! Usually they
are booked 24/7. Went to the boys' hostel in Kala's room for story
time. They ended up telling me more stories tonight than me telling them stories :)
Helped Kaylee in her class for an hour.
Had 6th standard today. This was the best 6th
standard class I have ever had because their teacher was there to
monitor. They listened and did a great job! Started typing up some
notes for the next dance master and chatted with the Elephant House
cleaning ladies–Alamelu and Lakshmi. They are hilairous! LifeDance
went well today. They cleaned their own dances and did a good job! I
warmed up my voice a bit before dinner. The other volunteers had to
go help with something at a colony, so just Catarina and I had good
conversation over dinner. Hung out with boys at free time. We did
tumbling stuff on the sand. Told stories in M. Vignesh and Nagaraj's
Finished typing up the notes for the
next dance master and Skyped with Shaun Parry for a bit. Taught 7th
standard today and went pretty well. Did some choreographing for
LifeDance for a fun dance and a little packing. Had last volunteer
meeting, went well! Had LifeDance and it went well. We did a
“marathon” and I had them run all of their dances in a row. After
dinner, the volunteers and I sat and played “Bananagrams,” had
snacks, and chatted. Going to miss this crew so much! I am so glad we
are all such good friends! It would not be the same without them.
Hung out with boys and girls at free time and told stories to 2
different boys' rooms for story time. Lights went out lots again
tonight so had some more fun sneaking around and scaring each other