Thursday, July 26, 2012

Dream come true!

Okay, we will go in order of today's events even though I just really want to talk about the highlight of my life, going to a special ed school here!  Ah, my life is complete :)
Kidding, let's begin-- went to the LARGEST colony today.  It's called Bharathapuram.  There was plenty of work to do here.  My first job was eyedrops.  2 per eye, wipe the tears and any extra goo.  Repeat with the next patient.  ...If you can get them to sit down :)
These people are so beautiful because they are so full of love and life.  Unfortunately they rarely to never will smile for a picture so I feel like it doesn't as accurately reflect their joyful personalities but still, I met some really inspirational people today.  Let me remind you that these people are still seen as outcasts and untouchables, so to be treated medically, smiled at, and honestly just looked in the eye is HUGE to them.  So glad I could do some small part to help better the lives of these people.  They deserve it.  They are so meek and humble.  Their example makes any materialistic needs or petty problem of mine vanish into oblivion.  

"The biggest disease today is not leprosy or tuberculosis, but rather the feeling of being unwanted.
-Mother Teresa

I washed this man's feet.  Most severe case of leprosy I've seen.  Such an intense moment in my life.

Also, a few people asked me to trim their nails.  Under my mask I said, "I don't know if I can do this", but then I realized that this woman was relying on me.  Me alone.  I HAD to help her.  But that's a story for another day.

Okay, for my favorite part of the day!  Rising star made my dream come true!  My group was kind enough to humor me and follow me to this special ed school at the end of an already long day.  I was so excited/nervous/overwhelmed to see what special ed would be like here.  Just thinking about what it might be like this past week made me tear up on numerous occasions.  So embarrassing.  
*For anyone out there reading this that doesn't know, Special Ed is my life.  I've been working with people with disabilities of all ages for the past 8 years of my life, and currently teach high school students with severe disabilities.  So ya, it's kinda my passion.*
Imagine my excitement!  I really felt like it was Christmas Day! (for the 2nd time this trip, hahah India really does amplify everything!)
The school.  Unfortunately everyone referred to as "the mental" or "the institution".
Wish I could do something about that :(

Wanted to take him home!  He was classic, button pushing, hands flapping, repeating all my English, made me so happy :)

I'm getting cheesy now, but look-- smiles are a universal language.

Some of the kids would echo my English, "happy!"  "ello!" "your name!"

Note the kid on the chair taking pictures.  Find em?  Ya, all these pics were taken by the kids.  They LOVED taking pictures, I didn't have any control over my camera from the second I walked in the door.

Busy.  The kids live here too.

I was in heaven.  No common language but definitely made a connection with these sweet souls.

To sum it up in 1 word, I would have to say overwhelming.
Overwhelming in a good way.  
I was overcome with a desire to do something more for these kids.  I wanted to give them everything my students in the states have.  A new classroom with iPads and a smartboard, a full kitchen, interaction with their typical peers, job opportunities, prom king/queen nominations, the whole bit.  Then I realized they wouldn't be happy with all that.  I didn't know what more I could do for them except for accept and love them in the short amount of time we did have.  
We just don't know how good we have it.  All of us.  
An experience like this makes me count my blessings.  It's humbling and frustrating all at the same time.

So grateful for India standstill moments.  More to come.

PS:  My India challenge of the day, ate the cookies from this secret (sweat, literally) shop. 


  1. Wow those pictures are great. They let us see what you are really up to. I almost cried. Good job Aim you are so good at treating people like people and seeing past anything. I'm proud of you!

  2. I love your quotes that go so appropriately with your blogs message. These pictures are so tender and sweet, I think those people are extra blessed to have you tend to their needs, you just radiate the kindness and love that they so desperately need. We love you, thanks for sharing these special moments with us. Take care..

  3. Ditto tif and Glen/mom. You are impressive Aimo. Even wiping goo, who would have thought? Impressive.

  4. alright...who are you and what have you done with my germophobic roommate?? :) SO glad that you're having such an amazing time!! I'm kinda worried that you might "miss your plane" and never come back!

  5. Dang you Amy, making me cry.

    I am seriously so in awe of what you are doing!