“Namaaskara!” from Bangalore, India
In “Rita Auntie’s” office, there is a picture of a huge bumblebee. Underneath the bee is a quote by M. Sainte-Lague (smart guy) that says this: “According to aerodynamic laws, the bumblebee cannot fly. Its body weight is not the right proportion to its wingspan. Ignoring these laws, the bee flies anyway.”
“Rita Auntie”, or “Ritama” as we like to call her sometimes, is the principal at Asha Kiran Special Needs School. For the next seven weeks we will stay with Rita and her husband Prem in there home. Let me give you a little picture of what this looks like: downstairs, we have our very own little suite: kitchen, two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a living-room. In the kitchen we have everything we need to make our morning coffee and tea, and in the living room we have the perfect set up for our improvised Dep work-out space. Every day we watch Skeeter in his ‘80s unitard teach us how to get washboard abs, buns of steel and swoll arms in eight minutes each. Youtube it: 8 minute abs. Then for every meal we are consistently spoiled by Rita’s cooking, and to complete the Indian meal experience, silverwear, or “cutlery”, is eliminated and our hands become our forks. Our meals are not just meals. The second we sit down to eat we turn to sponges, desperately trying to soak up all of Prem and Rita’s wisdom. We laugh, and laugh and the James’ couple never ceases to amaze us.
At Asha Kiran we have each been working in different classrooms and I think it is safe to say that all three of us have already fallen in love with the children. We spend most of our day in the classroom working individually with children that need more one-on-one help than others. The way they interact with each other is to me, more like siblings than friends which is how God calls us to treat each other. There is a 12-year-old girl named Adrita. One day I sat with her as she was helping someone eat that could not help herself. I knew Adrita had a sister so I asked her, “Adrita is this another sister of yours?” and she replied, “No, this is my friend.”
You see, here in Asha Kiran it doesn’t matter if you are a bumblebee and your body is too big for your wings, you can still fly. It doesn’t matter if you need help eating or if you learn differently or if you are sensitive to noise. It doesn’t matter if you are hearing impaired or if you cannot communicate verbally or if you are Hindu or Christian, you are a friend and you are treated like a sister or a brother: with love and laughter and patience.
Every day here is an adventure. Let me end our blog by telling you one more little story: One day the three of us decided to take a leisurely stroll. Here, that consists of dodging traffic, cows, and if your Chelsea, a pole. Finding our way home was just as much of an adventure. After 15 plus minutes of helpless wandering we had officially determined that we were lost until Rachel turned around and said, “Isn’t that our house?”. Well lo and behold, Rachel was right. Directly in front of us was the James’ house.
Sometimes it takes getting lost for us to realize we have already been found. All we need is to stop and realize we are right where we need to be.
“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ Declares the Lord, ‘Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,’ declares the Lord.”
Chelsea (This week’s blogger), Claire and Rachel
Ride an elephant: CHECK. Buy a Sari: CHECK. Learn Hindi: semi-CHECK. Learn to cook Indian food: CHECK. Learn a life lesson from a 12-year-old: CHECK.