Beautiful Beautiful Children

As I’m sure you gathered from the title, today for me was about the children. Our group divided in two today: medical and tutors. The medical professionals ventured out to work in two smaller colonies, whereas the rest of the group had the opportunity to tutor in the Rising Star school. What a blast!

If you recall, public schools in India are boarding schools; Rising Star is likewise a boarding school. The beautiful children are therefore very far away from their families. Like in all Indian schools, the ratio at the school makes for limited individual love from and attention. As you can imagine, tutoring therefore proved to be an extremely positive experience. They absolutely loved having someone focus entirely and solely on them.

In order to tutor we walked the two minutes over to the school with just enough time to watch the morning assembly. The children were so well behaved as they stood in lines by class listening to their teachers and principal; not a single child appeared to be out of line. Still, I had an unexpectedly comical experience. As I was gazing out at the beautiful children I saw one of my favorite little boys—one of the diehard hide-and-seek fans. Each day he ran around in long shorts and a Hawaiian button up shirt. Talk about a stud. The two of us made eye contact; he made a face at me, and I made a face back at him. He looked so cute in the school uniform (we had only played with them after school up until then so I had only seen the children in their play clothes). Then suddenly I realized in shock that he was wearing the uniform dress! He—with buzzed hair and a most masculine gate—is girl! Hahaha! I died! It was the funniest thing to me. Luckily I never called her a boy to her face. He is definitely now one of my favorite little girls!

Following assembly, we all jaunted into the school library where we were stationed for tutoring. There we tutored various students during the school day. Some had science, others reading, some simply needed help with writing. All of the children we tutored shared that they were ranked close to the bottom of their class. I had a number of great experiences with the many different children I worked with. It was absolutely an adventure trying to gauge what method of tutoring would best reach each particular child with just under an hour of time with them. Just before we started tutoring the cutest little girl in a red dress came in: it was her birthday! In India on your birthday you definitely get all spiffed up. And the best part for everyone else is that the person who’s birthday it is, brings candy or cake for everyone! That way everyone is excited for everyone’s birthday! Party!

I loved tutoring these amazing children! To be honest, however, the first child I tutored actually caused me to be quite sad. He was in the “second standard” or equivalent to I think 2nd grade. The sweet boy came in with the book he needed to read and answer questions about, only as we began reading I discovered he really could not read at all. This cute boy memorizes words. It was then a great challenge insisting we back peddle a bit in order to help him gain a foundation for literacy. He was frustrated as he wanted me to simply feed him the words. I got creative though, and in order to make it more fun I pulled out a miniature whiteboard for him to write and sound stuff out on. What a sweetheart!

Another of the children I tutored was most precious. I helped her to study her science, the topic being the solar system. At the end of the chapter there were a number of questions she had to learn. Her book appeared to have been a used book as it had all of the answers penciled in already. To prevent her from simply reading the answers I held the book up so she could not see into it, and read her the questions. She did so well; she knew everything. Ok I lied—she knew all but one answer. What is the biggest planet? The answer is Jupiter. This adorable little girl, however, could not for the life of her remember that answer. I kept reviewing that question for her so that she could learn it and do well on her exam, but no matter how long we tried she kept answering “Mars!” or “Venus!”, but never the right answer. All of the repetition seems to have paid off, however, as today at afternoon playtime—hours after she came in for tutoring—this same girl found me and beamingly shouted “JUPITER! JUPITER IS THE BIGGEST PLANET!” It made me so happy!

This little chid below was such a stud.  He just walked right in and jumped up on my lap for tutoring.  Can you imagine how badly that would go over in the United States?!

Another time I was privileged to work with a kindergartner level child on learning about morning, day, evening, and night. It was so much fun going through and talking about and drawing pictures of what he does during the different times of the day. In the morning he washes his face and comes to school. During the day he works hard at school and plays a lot. Then at night he eats dinner and goes to bed. His pictures were too cute of each task; to me they all looked the exact same! The only difference was that he told me they were different! He finished his assignment quite quickly so we were also able to choose a book to read. Rather than find a quick read, he opted to thumb through a text book on the solar system. It actually turned out to be surprisingly perfect as it was full of pictures of the sun, moon, and stars; he loved it!

Bryan did great with the children too.  They adore him!

And this is my sweet cousin Amy too!  She is SO good with the kiddies!

Oh...and of course some more hide-and-seek during recess. 

That's a group of us hiding to be sought below. 

Following the school day we again had about an hour break during which Bryan and I took a walk with my wonderful cousins through the nearby village again. This time we got a smidgen further…but notby much as we were definitely mobbed by a number of the most loving, hugging, beautiful village children. They loved holding hands and skipping down the path, walking with us, and simply just giving us hugs. My two cute cousins—Amy and Sarah—and I skipped with some of them down the path for a while! They loved that! As did we.

Then taking group pictures with them turned out to by a most hysterical feat as they ALL wanted to be in the very front.

Tonight was the same routine that the children and volunteers love. Playtime; dinner; and homework, a little playtime, and bed. Back at the school for the evening routine I was able to play a game of chase for but half the time as I had already played hide-and-seek with the kids during their school recess. For the remainder of the time I played a game of rocks. And by that I mean—these kids are unbelievably creative and resourceful. They have made up a number of games with but rocks to keep them entertained. One in particular is similar to Jacks—they toss one rock up and try to grab up as many of the others as they can. I played that with some of the children for hours.

Again, later in the house some of the little boys unveiled that they had dug up little balls of clay with which we could continue to play the games I had learned with the rocks inside. They are really talented little buggers too; they’re so speedy. I’m definitely not at all as fast as them which they find to be quite humorous. They’re all such gems though: they’re trying to teach me to be better. Each of the little boys in my house gave me tip, after tip, after tip. Then when I still did it wrong they’d laugh and laugh saying “no no no”. Too cute! I absolutely love them!

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