Friday, May 6, 2011

This week in India..

This week we had the first ever Staff Training for Camp Rainbow.  It was incredible.  So many people who had worked in India had told us not to expect too much.. not to expect the staff to open up quickly, or to act silly.. or to be able to adjust to 'camp culture'.  Boy was that not the case.  The group of people we worked with was INCREDIBLE - they were so, so fun, open to trying new things, willing to break down perceived cultural barriers... they were THERE.  They got it.  It was fun.  And hot.  But mainly fun.  Ok, fun and hot.  I cannot emphasize how hot.  Anyway.. a couple pictures (we try to protect the privacy of our particpants, you know how that goes.. so vague pictures only.)

Our schedule is PACKED - we do a 5.5 day training, with every hour intentionally planned.  I LOVE IT.  It is so so so exhausting to facilitate, but it is incredible - and the results are incredible.  Sometime I will write out a much more comprehensive post on it, but for now, suffice it to say it is one of my favorite parts of my job.
Our camp culture session was INCREDIBLE.  The participants made a map of India out of a bunch of random supplies we gave them, and then took us on a full on walking tour - with samples of dances and customs of all of the regions of India, and at the end... they all spontaneously broke into their national anthem.  I of course lost it and started crying.  It just was so lovely to see people so proud of their country and culture... and so incredible to think that we were about to have camp there, for the first time.  They were so ready to create a safe place for children - such a good group.  I am gushing.  I know.
Egg drop!  A fun evening program team building exercise.
Post training - we are wiped.  WIPED.  On the bus back to Chennai, the staff was still on a high - they were singing and dancing on the bus.  But the leadership team looked a little something like this:

Did I mention it was hot?  When I first got on the bus I seriously was a little bit amazed we all didn't get heat stroke instantly.  It was like walking into an oven.  But somehow, we survived.

The day after training we had a few hours to do some site-seeing.  We were so so exhausted, and so so SO hot - but I am glad we ventured out because it was the only chance I had on this trip to be a tourist!  Here is the team I traveled/worked with.  They are AMAZING, and made my life a happy place.  I get to work with some of the best people in the entire world.  Truly.  Just look at how adorable they are.  And sweaty.  But mainly adorable.
No memorable moment would be complete without a self portrait, don't you think?

Or a cheesy jumping picture

Or a giant stone elephant (built out of one rock!)


On the way back from our outing, we stopped at a roadside stand to pick out some fruit.  This quiet little simple moment was actually one of my favorites.  Just a lovely little stolen glimpse into life in Chennai.

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