Two months at a school outside of small impoverished villages, bucket showers, poncho shirts, no knees showing and minimal sternum….I was sure this was a recipe for staying single for quite sometime longer….after a summer of “I’m definitely going to be single forever” ….the sub conscious quest for love would be put on hold most definitely until the New Year. Ok, I have a bigger purpose at hand, what is another couple of months of closing those doors.

But In fact, I have been surprised. I guess I did not live up to my motto of no expectations when travelling. In this mysterious land where cars play songs when they back up, it rains a lot but always seems sunny, and crickets frogs and centipedes can unit in a western toilet…I have in fact fallen in love. I completely and unconditionally love the children I have been brought here to teach. Particularly my little inner circle of Life Dance members whom I get to work with daily. The joy in their hearts and their ability to share it is astounding. I am beginning to think there is an inverse relationship between monetary possessions/a fair upbringing and happiness. Everyone of these children have been told by they can not go to a normal school because someone in their family has had leprosy. They grow up around people who will later lose their fingers, toes, and limbs. Many are told they have to beg to support their family. Their families have lost work due to the disease, they are brushed off by society, and they are beaten and made to believe there is no other way. And yet, I get to see them learning, playing, and dancing with joy in their faces on a daily basis. I find them simply remarkable. And I truly love all of them with every ounce of me. Seriously, today I just wanted to squeeze them forever as they were all giving me hugs and kisses on the cheek.

Friday, I surprised UKG for an extra dance class as they requested earlier that week. I found them on their way back from the Mango Grove and walked back with them to their classroom. On our walk, I literally had a child holding each one of my fingers one holding each of my legs someone around my waist and two clutched to my bag. It was a challenging walk but they were so excited that they got to dance. Those who could not hold on were twirling down the walkway preparing themselves as others were articulately telling me about the effects of all the rain and the snakes they had seen. I told Celina this and she goes…wait, they know words? in English? teasing of course, but their ability to communicate in their excitement outside of the classroom was almost shocking. Since it was an extra day we did some different songs and incorporated different technical steps in a follow the leader format which they loved! and surprisingly when they simply follow along and it changes often enough that they really have to pay attention, they pick things up so quickly! new tactic I think. We finished just in time for lunch as they all scurried to put their shoes on with numerous ” I love you auntie”s. Some of them can almost skip now! I am so proud haha.

Last night I even had this awful dream where I had lost one of the boys and felt that I needed to rescue him from extreme danger of sorts. It was funny for him because this morning when I saw him I was like come here (he definitely thought he was in trouble) and I said you have to give me a huge hug….as I explained what had happened and told him I was happy he was not lost, he laughed and gladly hugged me. I was relieved =)

Maybe I also love them because they are extremely good for my self-esteem. Collectively they have decided that I look like a doll. And a few of the girls decided to tell me the other day they think I look like Barbie….it was really hard not to laugh, but I thanked them anyways. And then at girl’s night we watched a Barbie movie (I am still astounded at how complex they can ge) and they decided I was the main fairy because she was the most beautiful. haha. So perhaps my appreciation for them is a bit skewed. But i’ll take the personal boost while it’s available lol.

On top of that I just about died laughing the other night leaving the dining hall….” Auntie, Auntie, Auntie!!!” “Melana wait! Melana, Melana Melana” “yes yes what what!” I replied as three of the boys jumped in front of me clicking away plastic toy cameras they had acquired. It was absolutely the last thing I expected and had no idea where they had gotten the toys let alone had them at dinner. But it was so funny. We had a little a mock photo shoot before they thanked me and ran back inside. Like I said, they surprise me constantly….in so many different ways.

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