The kids at Rising Star are absolutely gorgeous! Most of them are from Leprosy Affected families but about 20 are from the village nearby which is more amazing than it sounds! Up until now, children whose parents have leprosy were not allowed to go to school, even though they are totally unaffected. Not only that but other children were not allowed to associate with children who are leprosy affected. What a blessing this beautiful school and the computer lab here are to these kids. There are no computers in the village so suddenly, these kids are no longer “untouchable”. Bless Becky Douglas for having the vision to create this school and give a quality education to kids who would otherwise grow up in poverty just like their parents.
Every morning there is an assembly which is the cutest thing I’ve seen for a while! They are very well disciplined and have a Principal who is an Indian but has been educated and became a teacher in California. She’s quite amazing! Her head is higher than anyone else in this picture below. Not the little girl in the brilliant pink dress.The kids are allowed to wear their best dresses instead of a uniform on their birthdays. They also get to bring treats to every class in the school (American Halloween treats packed here by Ron, the wonderful director here).
Shawni if you think you have it tough getting your 4 girls ready for school every morning, think of the housemothers here who have about 25 little girls’ hair to do! they are up at 6 a.m. every day, washing, cleaning and “doing hair”! The older girls do each other and help with the little girls, but stiil….
The assembly is so fun to watch. Prayers, flag ceremony and recitations are done in straight lines and with great respect and all seriousness.
Yesterday I got a chance to teach a class about 4 of the animals from the Nurturing book. The 10-11 year olds really got it.
And the 5-6 year olds were totally clueless! Luckily the Principal was there to translate in Tamil. Funny experience!
Then Tal and Anita and I observed a science class and a math class. Tal looked pretty funny sitting in those seats with the boys!
The kitchen staff is amazing! They do 3 meals a day for 150 kids and about 25-35 adults (including staff, teachers, housemothers and the volunteers). She is such a good cook!
As soon as one meal is finished, they start on the next one.
One worker brings her baby. This baby is 8 months old and can’t be more than 10 lbs.
There are men and women building the new school every day. One of the women brings her baby and she just sits in this enormous sand pile every day and hardly moves a muscle!
The women work right along with the men. Usually carrying huge bowls of sand on their heads. This is the first time I’ve seen this though:
This morning we went to an amazing bird refuge about 10 kilometers from the school.
At first it felt sort of like entering Jurasic Park because huge pelicans were flying around with a six foot wingspan along with a hundreds of other large and small species of birds:
There were mounds of bushes crammed with birds as far as we could see!
This was our group…the nurses and a wonderful man who grew up in India with 11 brothers and sisters. He went to the US, found a wife and joined the church. What great stories he had to tell about growing up in India:
On the right were absolutely gorgeous rice paddies as far as we could see:
This was the nearest village, which made us feel right at home!
Charity along with Dani and Sara arrived at the Chennai airport this morning and should be here at the school within an hour. We are EXCITED!