Three Words, One Loving Connection

As we slipped off our shoes on the warm stone of the corridor, I heard a sudden swell of voices rising from the end of the hall. We paused as the girls staying in Manav Sadhna's Girls Hostel raised their voices in prayer before their meal. I listened in awe as the individual voices of many young children wove together to create a song that reflected the age and wisdom of a tradition much older than they were.

After the prayer, our group was led inside and invited to sit and eat lunch where the girls eat everyday. The food was delicious, but what was even sweeter than the amazing mango puree was the kindness of the girls themselves. We had barely met them, and yet they rushed around, distributing plates and then food with much enthusiasm. I was grateful for their generosity, and each time a girl offered me some food, I said, "thank you." Every single time I said this, the girl would look up, flash a smile, and with a twinkle in her eye say, "welcome."

They came around once, twice, three times (maybe more), and when we were too full to take any more they had a smile for us anyways.

I was touched by the kindness of these girls. Something about their bright smiles and eagerness to help a group of students they had never seen before left me with so much gratitude. Each smile, rather than a polite gesture, seemed to be a small offer of friendship. It may have been easy to simply offer us food and leave for their next activity, but instead they offered us kindness, and that small act of love stayed with me.

We've been hearing a lot about small acts of kindness during our stay in Ahmedabad. We've spoken with so many wonderful and inspiring men and women who have devoted their lives to service. All of these people have accomplished such great things, and yet they never cease to remind us that it is the small acts of kindness that make the greatest difference. Just hearing those words inspire and encourage me to make a positive effect on the world in small ways everyday, but seeing such clear examples of these acts demonstrate just how true that piece of advice is. Each of those girls' smiles and kind words may have been small acts, but they made a world of difference for me.