Monday, May 27, 2019

Day 5: Performance day! Volunteering at Surya Bharti: An Enlightening Experience

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.

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