Standing outside the Guest House waiting for the big yellow bus to take us to our first mobile school of the trip was incredibly exciting, like it was our first day of school, and when it pulled up we all noticed the blue footprints painted onto the side as the bus was payed for with money sent by Khushi Feet. The bus was full of children and it took us a while to all get on, with children pulling us to sit with them and the four other children sitting on their bench.
When we arrived at the Hatibagan Mobile School we helped the teachers to give the children a wash – this for me was the most important thing, as it showed that the schools are thinking about more than educating and feeding the children; it was caring for them, giving them the respect that I’m not sure they will be given elsewhere. The teacher was very thorough, lathering up each child and rinsing them off before sending them to be dried with a big towel. Then they all put on their smart blue shirts – they ensured it was on correctly so they looked their best.
This is where we got a little more involved as we sung two songs with lots of actions, they didn’t know them so their teachers translated the words so they could understand. It was great. The teachers really put a lot of emphasis on the children knowing what was going on and telling them about who we were.
At the school the students are given two meals: some breakfast after morning songs and then after their lessons a big helping of curry for lunch so it can last them until their next meal, which we were all aware might not be until tomorrow’s breakfast. This huge time without food is so difficult to understand when you have never had to worry about it. When you think of how much the children you know need to eat in order to grow it becomes very hard to not just shout, ‘THIS ISN’T FAIR’. But I know that these schools are really balancing out that unfairness and it is wonderful to see.
Today I got to see more of my fellow team members’ strengths and some of their weaknesses (Emily’s is maths). Everyone was so brilliant when we did the lessons, just simple maths and English, those who taught were great at adapting to what they saw the kids could do and the ones who sat with the children got to see how the children were thinking and the pleasure they got out of a right answer and a smiley face from Geoff. Stefano managed to show us all up at break time though as he was king of making the kids jump really high, which no one else managed so consistently.
It has been such an amazing day, I don’t think it could have gone any better. It was sad to see the children get off the bus and return ‘home’ to the streets, but the bus dropped us off and drove away with smiling faces in every window. I cant wait to see it coming back tomorrow.