Thousands of Smiles

John Schupbach
Oct 1, 2014 · 4 min read

We squeezed in more meetings, seminars, and smiles in the morning of my first full day back than most people do in a week. I was up at 4 to start working. We had chai and breakfast at 6:30 and saw Allison off to work at 7. Then we set out to Carmel Convent School to meet with Sister Sweta (Superior), Sister Daphne (KG Principal), Sister Namreta (Admin), Sister Tracilda (1st-10th Principal), and Sister Vigenti (Teacher). We also met with Jacintha Ma’am (Teacher), Miss Mabel, Miss Lysa, and a parade of the teachers and staff. It was a school holiday at Carmel because of exams on Tuesday. However, our students were still there studying hard in their own tutoring session with Jacintha Ma’am, perhaps the most inspiring and dedicated teacher I have ever met. As always, we couldn’t wait to get to the classroom to see the students in action. They’ve achieved so much and have continued to surpass everyone’s expectations of them. I can’t even begin to describe how proud I am of them.

I sat and talked with each student. Their English has improved so much that they can understand and answer just about every question I ask. I can’t imagine anything more fun than this.

After a couple of hours at Carmel, we headed to KL Mehta school to meet with Principal Kiran and the faculty as well as many of the parents and students who had gathered for a big town-hall style conference to give updates, discuss new policies and plans, sign permission slips, voice any concerns, etc.

Lauren has about the best word to describe these kids, “Smushy.” Are they not adorable? Their excitement and enthusiasm is off the charts.

Lauren and Mamta deserve more gratitude and praise than I can possibly convey here. Mamta can take an entire room of people and have them engaged and laughing while covering incredibly important and sometimes difficult subjects. She works tirelessly every day without taking a single rupee for herself. People in need come to her home at all hours of the day when they have nowhere else to turn for help. She is truly a saint for doing what she does.

Although Lauren has only been here for two months, she knows nearly every student, has piles of paperwork impeccably organized, and accomplishes mountains of work every day with inspiring ease and patience. She’s also very popular here with tons of requests to have photos taken with her.

I wish I could say more but time is limited. I have to go rinse the sweat off, eat breakfast, and get to Carmel in the next 20 minutes. More than 2,000 photos and videos yet to upload. Stay tuned.

Squalor to Scholar

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