Tuesday, June 30, 2015

The Cute Kids

The aspect about Rising Star that leaves the biggest impression on everyone who comes here is probably the kids. They are so loving, accepting, forgiving. As the coordinator of education, I help volunteers tutor these kids every day. I spend a lot of time with them. I often look over the playground or the classroom and think, "Where would these children be if they weren't here?" Since they're all from families that are somehow affected by leprosy, most of them probably wouldn't ever go to school because of the social stigma. Thanks to Rising Star, they are learning English from Americans, learning to use a computer, learning to read and do so many things that will help them have bright futures. 

Bhavana is perfectly shooting her hand up, as if to say, "I'm the girl Faith is going to comment on when she writes about this photo." She's so right. Bhavana is a brand new kindergarten student here who is SUCH a character. She's the one who doesn't sing the songs during circle time, but rather screams them at the top of her lungs as if she was screaming "FIRE!" She tries to trip kids as they run around the circle of Duck, Duck, Goose. She will pinch you to communicate since you don't speak her language. She'll steal your camera and run with it. But she also just steals my heart, somehow, through all of that.  Today, knowing she wouldn't understand English, I said to her, "You are the sassiest 5-year-old I've ever met." She responded with the only English response she knows (which happened to be fitting),"Yes."

 Also, a shout-out to the love of my life. Today is our 6-month anniversary. I'm so thankful for him and so thankful we're here together. He works so hard for others. He goes to the kids' hostel every night to tell stories to the little boys at bedtime. He spends hours planning and organizing to make this a good experience for the volunteers. On top of that, he spends time with me and helps me see through the hard times. I haven't yet witnessed an eternal honeymoon, but I have witnessed a 6-month honeymoon. I still have to pinch myself that I'm really married to Carson Ralphs! It's been 6-months of bliss. Our only argument is who is luckier, which is an argument I know I win.

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