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Report from India: March 2011 Ambassador Trip

DAY 1:
The Ambassadors depart the USA for India.  Then, fourteen hours later . . .
DAY 2:
After a couple of treks back and forth to the airport, all of our Ambassadors land safely in India and everyone is very excited to meet the kids tomorrow!
For some of our travelers the adventure begins immediately. Gina and Erik fully experience all of their five senses as we meander through the Old Delhi Spice Market today. Just walking down the “chili street” has their eyes burning and noses running. And no one is even cooking with the chilis!
Others are immediately immersed into Indian culture through: rickshaw rides (where the definition of seatbelt is reinvented), crazy traffic as only Old Delhi can provide (that is, until you try a rickshaw in Ranchi), and, finally, arriving at our hotel to find a full Indian wedding ceremony taking place on the front lawn. Of course, I’m absolutely certain that the firewords are for us, but am told that they are actually for the bride and groom!
DAY 3:
Our Ambassador team is assembled bright and early and everyone is more excited than ever. Finally, we get to do what we came here to do: meet the children.
Following breakfast, we take a quick flight to Ranchi, where Caroline warmly welcomes us. Then, a 40-minute drive and we make our way through the gates to paradise, a.k.a. Sooch Village!
Upon our arrival, Sooch Village is quiet because the kids are studying for next week’s exams. But soon, we are all out on the playground, playing “Bulldog” and “Tug of War.” What a site! It’s Ambassadors against Children and the Ambassadors lose — 3 times! Then, we spend some “serious” time playing (and giggling) with ten toddlers!
By 9 pm, we have ten very exhausted, but clearly elated Ambassadors. They definitely need their sleep, because tomorrow morning we start with yoga at 7 am!
DAY 4:
Today starts early. We begin with morning yoga led by an Indian instructor who teaches in orphanages all over India. Some of us are new to the practice and are greatly relieved that she makes it very simple and very enjoyable. What a great way to start the day!
Then, we get to work, making over 100 videos of the children in just two hours. We certainly have some amazing and industrious Ambassadors!
After lunch, it’s fun with arts-and-crafts, which actually turns into a bit of a circus due to the kids’ antics. Suffice it to say, they aren’t at all sure what to do with the Playdough! However, in the end, lots of lovely beaded bracelets are made and tied to their wrists and many colorful animal masks are created and fitted to their precious faces. Everyone (children and Ambassadors alike) have a wonderful time.
Afternoon playtime includes another rousing game of “Bulldog,” followed by “Duck Duck Monkey” and “Hokey Pokey.” Then we sing “Happy Birthday” to Ambassador Chris and have a banana party to celebrate!
But the team doesn’t stop there. Soon, it’s off to the toddler cottage again, where the adorable tykes do what every child under three does with a new toy . . . puts it into their mouth!
By the time dinner comes around, three Ambassadors are too exhausted to eat. But they assure us it’s the BEST kind of exhaustion. The kind that comes from spending the day with 150 very loving and very energetic kids!
Tune in tomorrow when we learn how to cook Indian food!
March 14, 2011 CATEGORY: People