Jan Seva ("Serving the People") School Visit

               Thursday we went to a school for under privileged children.  Most of the children live in shack homes in the slums of the city.  The kids' school day began with an assembly where all the kids sing the their national anthem.  It was an appropriate introduction to the kids to hear them all sing-screaming at the top of their lungs.

              After the assembly we got to play with the kids at recess and the two best words to describe what recess is like with these kids are adorable and chaotic.  Just picture about 60 little Indian kids running around, screaming, in a playground that is only about 50 square feet, add a few teeter-totters and slides and sprinkle in a couple of giant yoga balls and you’ve got a pretty good idea of what we were getting into.  Needless to say it was a blast.

              After recess the visit changed gears a bit when we split up into groups and got to visit a couple of the homes that the kids came from.  When we arrived at the shanty town it looked exactly like what I expected it to: sheet metal walls, patch work roofs, garbage everywhere, stray dogs, and a not so appealing aroma.  What I didn’t expect though was the positive demeanor of the people.  I totally expected everyone to look depressed and hostile, but that was far from what we experienced. We were instead greeted with smiles and cheerful 'hellos'.  When we got to the home of one of the student's fathers, he greeted us warmly and excitedly brought us into his house which was a shack made of sheet metal and stones and was about 10 feet by 4 feet.  We were only just able to cram four seminarians, our translator, and the father into the house without it falling apart.  The inside was basically a flat spot to sleep, a small kitchen area, and a door.  I expected the father to be kind of shy and embarrassed to have us see his less than meager home, but again my expectations were shattered. He was just proud of what he had and honored to have us visit.

            All in all the day was one that was filled with shattered expectations and a new perspective on where happiness really comes from.


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