The following post features student writing.
Our time in Kotri has come to an end. All the goodbyes have been said, all the tears have been shed, and all is packed and ready for the final chapter of our trip. Our time in Kotri was special for so many reasons, from sweating through our clothes on the worksite, all the games in the classroom, all the smiles exchanged at Vimla-Ji’s and Tara-ji’s, to all the parle-G’s devoured during chai time. This village has truly left its mark on our hearts, for now and for all the years to come. There is no way we will be able to forget all the beautiful souls of Kotri, all the warmth and love they exuded. We learned so much from them, whether it be a new game, a new craft, or a new mindset, it was a cultural exchange we will forever cherish in our hearts.
It was in the final days that it really began to hit us that our time here was limited, as this could be the last time we ever see these people. On Wednesday we had our school presentations, where our students came up in front of the whole school to present what they’ve learned from our teaching. It was a time of pride and joy, all the excited faces eager to present what we’d been practicing. We as teachers couldn’t have been more proud to see them execute their presentations so perfectly. It was during this time that we truly realized the impact we had on our students and all the pride we felt to have been so blessed to be able to teach these kids and develop such a bond with them.
It was on our final day, Thursday, that the painful reminder got stronger. As our last day with the children and our side project leaders had passed, it was a day to get ready for the end, cleaning our rooms, creating and finishing our gift for the village, a storybook titled “Our Time In Kotri,” as well as thank you cards for all the people that truly made our stay so special, from Fateh-ji, who was the most caring face to see everyday, to our drivers, who we only saw during excursions, but who ensured we arrived at our locations safely. Everyone in Kotri was someone to be thankful for, as they all contributed to making us feel welcome.
Once all had been cleaned, all the cards and storybook finished, Vimla-ji and Tara-ji came to help us get dressed in our creations for the party. Everyone looked so beautiful in their creations, whether it be a pair of pants, a kurta, an embroidered scarf, or a full set. After everyone was ready, it began to pour heavy rain, a reflection of what we were feeling deep down because we were leaving this magical place.
But once the rain ceased, the party began! It was a time of love, laughter, dancing, and joy, and it was in those final hours that we truly experienced the magic of Kotri.
Now that our time is up, it’s easy to say that it was one of the most magical times in our lives that only belongs to us. We grew closer, building new friendships, new jokes, new connections we won’t be able to find anywhere else because they are all based on our time spent in the small village of Kotri. Not only did we build connections with each other, but with Kotri as well. I believe it’s safe to say we left a piece of our hearts in that beautiful village. It became our home, and we will miss it and all the memories we made that will last us more than a lifetime.
Kotri, thank you for all the love and warmth you welcomed us with. Thank you for being our home during our trip and for all the joyful memories you gave us. We’ve grown to love you dearly, and we will miss you just as much. Goodbye, Kotri!