Tuesday, August 27, 2019
Thursday, August 15, 2019
15th August is the Independence day of India.
And, this year, Rakshabandhan festival also held on the same day.
It was very busy day as I thought!
In the morning, we had a celebration ceremony of Independence day of India.
Today, it was first time for me to hoist the national flag,
due to absence of my husband who went on business trip.
The flag hold flower petals inside and was tied tightly,
it was too tight to untie the string only once,
I tried to pull several times to open the flag.
Wearing shoes is prohibited around the flag stand.
After hoisting the national flag, everyone started to sing the national song.
It is rainy season, but it was sunny day with strong sun light, so it was so hot today!
We all did it very well!
Some students sang songs, and gave speeches.
Every time, in hoisting flag photo, principal sir's hand overlapped on my husband's face,
this time, flower petals overlapped on my face...!
After the celebration, we had Jalebi (national sweets of India).
After the celebration at Surya Bharti School, next was our hotel's celebration.
With staffs and special guests, Mr.&Mrs. Rajesh.
And there, a priest was waiting for us.
He was the priest who conducted our marriage ceremony.
He came to celebrate Rakshabandhan for us.
"Rakshabandhan" means a custom that Sisters pray for their brothers' health and give charms.
Not only real siblings but also cousins and friends can do this ceremony.
Putting charm with right wrist for boys and left wrist for girls.
He gave a charm for my husband.
Elder daughter has lots of brothers in Japanese class.
Second daughter also celebrated like her sister.
Rahul who is an ex-student came to celebrate Rakshabandhan.
Today(15th) was the last day of Sawan season,
he kept his beard unshaved during the season.
He is 20 something, but look at him, like a boss!
He opened a computer class in his village, and he is also planning to open a branch in Gaya.
And, my "Brother" is Mr.Kamal.
He is a local head of a famous newspaper.
He managed his time to come to celebrate.
We have been continuing this ceremony for 9 years.
And ... !
My children and I went to celebrate Rakshabandhan with their 9 cousins.
And we had more...!
Premjeet who is an ex-student and in a cricket academy came to celebrate at night.
It was so busy and full of memory day!
Monday, May 27, 2019
Day 5: Performance day!
This day was a very important one for the students: one of two festivals they hold each year! Prior to this day, we learned that students would be performing modern dances, Christmas songs, and a Christmas play about Jesus’s birth. We didn’t know exactly what to expect but knew the students had been working very hard.
As we waited for the students’ arrival in the backstage dressing room, we saw a couple students trickle in, looking very excited to get dressed up and dolled up. The room then quickly filled as more and more children ran in, makeup and dresses in hand, showing the bows and glitters off to my sister and me.
We set off with our task for the morning, to help the young girls with their hair and makeup. Thankfully, we were dancers in our younger days and somewhat remembered how to do stage makeup. It was endearing to see the girls share their makeup boxes and look at one another with admiration as we applied some pink eyeshadow, red blush, and pink lipstick. They were very excited to get on stage – no hint of nerves at all!
After helping the girls with their makeup, my sister and I were pleasantly surprised to be offered to get a little dolled up ourselves: two teachers of the school brought us sarees to wear and helped us dress in them. As for makeup, the female students did us the favor in return and applied eyeshadow, eyeliner, and lipstick for us!
Without stopping there, Yuki-san and Surya Bharti School welcomed us further. At the beginning of the performance, we were invited on stage to each light a candle, receive necklaces of vibrant marigolds still damp with freshness, and be decorated with bindis. Now we were set to watch the performance as a true part of the school.
The show began with female students from various classes performing dances to modern Indian pop songs. We were impressed with their courage on stage and their dancing skills; their hard work was very apparent. As the show progressed to the Christmas portion, it was charming to see young boys and girls sing Jingle Bells and Feliz Navidad with enthusiasm. The performance of the birth of Jesus Christ was acted out by older students with more advanced English skills and let me say, they did wonderfully. Mr. Michael, the longer-term volunteer teacher at Surya Bharti, did a great job preparing the students and having fun with them along the way.
What a treat it was to see the students’ continuous enthusiasm channeled through their performances, and to feel so much a part of the experience through the warmth of Yuki-san and the Surya Bharti staff. The students constantly impress me with their hard work, big dreams, and humility. With the support of people who were fortunate to be born into more favorable life circumstances, these students can achieve bright futures. They deserve every opportunity that comes their way, of which we hope there are many.
Sunday, May 26, 2019
Day 4: Second day teaching
Today, we visited Surya Bharti for the second time. We were very excited to once again see the students’ bright faces, sometimes shy smiles, and enthusiasm for learning, and to teach them English in a more hands-on manner than the first day.
We believe that across cultures, there is at least one common passion: food. On that note, we brought printouts of American menus to share with the younger students and teach them common food / restaurant-related phrases, like “What would you like to eat?” and “My personal favorite is …”
The activity was a hit, especially as we went around asking each student what he / she wanted to order. It was fascinating to see differences in tastes across cultures, as the Surya students frequently ordered items such as buckwheat pancakes and multigrain bread, while in the U.S., youth would typically order maple-drenched French toast or sweet pancakes stacked high. The students comprehended the lesson well and were giggling throughout, appearing to enjoy using their imagination while learning English. Toward the end of one class, all the students began ordering dessert items such as chocolate cake and cookies! It was endearing, and also struck me as perhaps driven by the rarity of such treats in their everyday lives.
For the older students, we taught Martin Luther King’s famed “I Have a Dream” speech. We again wanted to instill something beyond just a rote English lesson; we wanted to incite students to reflect on the ideas of equality, freedom, and justice that King touts so eloquently. We taught them the history behind the speech and read the first portion line by line, explaining the metaphors and deeper meanings behind some of the sentences. While doing so we saw the students’ faces become serious with concentration and, I hope, contemplation.
One of my greatest wishes for these students who filled me with continuous inspiration, is that they will live in “an oasis of freedom and justice” (King) in which they can strive for and achieve their many dreams. Surya Bharti School is setting them on the path to do so.