I need to cut around 200 words and it would be great if you could give me some feedback in general.
Also I have been thinking of another beginning and end... (see at the end of the essay..)
Tell us about an intellectual experience, project, class, or book that has influenced or inspired you.
A deflated brown ball, lying in a corner. The turquoise color peeled off the wall of a five- by- seven meter room. A little boy lied on a dirty sheet in a corner, curled up. There are children's eyes; an unbelievable amount of eyes. They were not staring at me, but the room's atmosphere made me feel that they would, if they just could. But their eyes could not see me. Thirty-five children cowered on the room floor. Most of them had their heads between their legs, hiding their scars. One boy had a scar shaped like a heart. Some did not have eyes at all. Some were small, maybe a foot tall. Some were older, maybe eleven. But the grey uniform they wore seemed too big and baggy on each of them.
This was one of the situations I had to face when coming alone to India to volunteer in orphanages and schools. The project I was participating in was small with only one to three volunteers per year. Besides a local coordinator who lived far away and who would be accessible in emergencies, I had no support from the project itself. For me, that was the beauty of the project. I was on my own, but that allowed me to decide for myself in what direction I wanted to lead the project.
On this particular morning, I came to introduce myself and to get to know the institution. I had been working in orphanages, and did not know until my arrival that this was a school for the blind. I was not even planning to start teaching that day, but upon introducing myself, I was ushered to the playroom abandoned with nothing but a deflated ball. The caretaker left, telling me: "I will be back in four hours."
Starting to speak, I heard my voice like I have never heard it before. They could not see me or understand what I was saying, but they could hear my voice. At this moment, I only existed to them as the tone of my voice. I spoke in German and English, even in Spanish and French; I introduced myself, said "hello", and I knew that, besides the couple of words in Hindi that I slipped in, they had no idea what I was talking about.
I decided to go outside to clear my head. As I stepped in front of the little barrack, an old man walked by. I met him every morning on the corner, where he usually sat watching the world pass by. I invited him once to my little flat for tea and though did not speak English spending time together made us both happy. As he passed me this moment, he makes smiled and an idea popped into my mind. With my few words of Hindi, I gave him some money and asked him to buy me a variety of fruits. One of each sort he can find, I told him. Five minutes later he was back with a shriveled mango, a brownish banana, a rotten pineapple and a small green apple. I distributed them to the kids and let them feel the different shapes, surfaces and details. They had never even tasted pineapple or mango before. Usually they just eat rice; twice a day, sometimes with lentils. But I did not get the fruits to serve them but to teach the children the names, because that is why I came; to teach. Education empowers. Education helped me to form my personality. It taught me how to look at the world in many ways, to appreciate all its richness and diversity, and I think that it is something precious which needs to be spread throughout the world.
After a couple of weeks with them, my Hindi got better and I started to teach English and Math. I discovered their vitality and curiosity - their urge to learn. Their living situation made me sad, but what really moved me was their desperate search for love and attention. Their small hands grabbing into the air trying to find somebody to hold on, trying to find their way into a society, that seems to have no space for them.
Before I left, I organized a camp for them. It lasted for three days but then what are these three days compared to the time they spend in their turquoise five- by seven meter room, with a deflated, brown ball in the corner?
I was thinking about starting with the following paragraph and than to talk about the quote in the end again, but I do not know if I would still answer the question then...what do you think?
There is a quote from Johann Wolfgang Goethe that my parents value greatly: "There are two things children have to get from their parents: Roots and wings." I honestly believe that they were able to give me both of them. I grew up in Germany, healthy, and with the privilege of access to a good education. Being the daughter of a kindergarten educator, my mother ensured that I grew up in an environment suitable for children, but because of her trust in my maturity and independence she soon let me go my own way. That way led me to India this summer, where I was reminded of Goethe's quote as I met children who had received neither roots nor wings.
It began with a deflated brown ball, lying in a corner...
Let's focus on this sentence to refine the essay:
But the grey uniforms they wore seemed too big and baggy on
each of them. their tiny frames.
(That new ending is just an idea I had for you.) This is the end of the first paragraph, so it leaves a thought in the reader's mind, lingering for a moment. Is this the thought that you want to let linger? Or would you like to end this first paragraph by establishing the reader in thought about your main idea, the thesis of the essay? You might want to keep this sentence but add one more before ending the first para.
For this additional para at the end:
...that my parents value greatly ----when you write that someone values something greatly, you can usually find a better, more colorful way to express it... a special adjective or verb that perfectly captures it... instead of having to resort to using the weak word "very."
We can almost always improve the power of writing by cutting out the weakest stuff:
There is a quote from Johann Wolfgang Goethe that my parents value greatly: "There are two things children have to get from their parents: Roots and wings." I honestly believe that my parents were able to give me both of them. I grew up in Germany, healthy, and with the privilege of access to a good education. Being the daughter of a kindergarten educator, my mother ensured that I grew up in an environment suitable for children, but because of her trust in my maturity and independence she soon let me go my own way. That way When my travels brought me to India this summer, where I was reminded of Goethe's quote as I met children who had received neither roots nor wings.