June 17, 2009
From our meeting with Manjul, he noted that we should also be mentioning how the community (teachers and students) are responding to us, instead of only reflecting on our own personal experiences.
We met with Gangadhar today. We told him that we plan on only doing a street play with one of the schools: Gayatri’s class, but that we will continue playing with the other class.
I was proud of us as a group managing to make it to the school on our own today (it is tough to remember navigating the narrow lanes).
With our first batch we started with going over our names- by using BOPPING technique. (We each ducked down and they had to shout the name of the person who ducked! Great fun!)
We passed out nametags to them, and as manjul pointed out, this was probably the first time many of them had had their names (especially in English and hindi) on their bodies.
We hung up the rest of the drawings on the walls (what they drew yesterday).
I started leading them with clapping- a group bonding, “oneness” activity that manjul had suggested. The kids enjoyed it…
I like when spontaneity works. Like I was getting them clapping at the same time, so I decided that I would say one, two, three and on three they would have to clap.
Then I started mixing up by saying…126.96.36.199. 2..2.1.., and seeing when they would clap, or if they waited until 3 to clap!
Shriya led us in wah. Which took them a little while to catch on, but once they caught on it was so cute! They got so into it! It was fabulous to see!
I immediately pounced into changing the sound and motion, which worked for a little bit- kids’ attention span left…eeek.
So we spun directly into ACTING out their morning.
It was fabulous. The kids did it! Individually, volunteers went up and showed us the motions from their days. Yes, for the most part it was repetitive (woke up, brushed their teeth, showered, drank chai, ate, came to school), but it was the confidence that they did it with. And all the kids were watching, engaged the whole time!
Then it was a spontaneous decision of the other leaders, that we should go up and one of us should act out our morning using the others as props.
WHAT A FABULOUS IDEA! Stretching the kids imagination, I used juhi as my alarm clock and sriya as my pillow. As I moved along my morning, they shifted into new props that the kids guessed. And they guessed correctly! And they loved it!
The kids sang happy birthday to sriya, and she handed out candies to them.
After shavasana, we spoke with gayatri asking which kids are definitely staying (not going to enroll eventually in BMC schools). She said that pretty much all the kids from our surveying are not here now because the parents don’t want them to, and the kids that are here will probably be off to BMC in 2 weeks or so. Gayatri requested that we go speak with the parents of the kids we surveyed, asking them to come.
My idea is that we should have these kids perform the street play outside of the homes of those parents, and grab their attention regarding education in that way!
Meanwhile, I sat with juhi and these girls. They had come over with a game to play with us- had wanted to play! One said that she wants to become a nurse, the other said a lawyer. One of them said that she can’t come to school because her mother doesn’t allow her, she wants her to go home and cook. Another kid told ria that she has to go home to clean the clothes. Manjul points out that a potential theme is the inequality between men and women in terms of education in this community.
When we left the center, this woman, who apparently has been saying this for the past few days, was asking us if we could stay over and not leave…
When we arrived at the second center, the kids again were happy to see us! We did much of the same activities, and again there were kids lined up at the doors watching us.
It looks like the new teacher has a new confidence in us.
Time with Manjul:
He suggested that maybe we break up into groups, and that we all lead our own group…or team up.
I said that I am wholeheartedly prepared and want to lead my own group. And I am. I have mentally prepared myself for this for over a month now, when I was given the alarming news that I would be doing this on my own.
But still, with wanting to hear the kids stories, wanting the script to be written, I have to say that it would help/be necessary for me to communicate with them a little in hindi. Because I hear what my fellow colleagues are saying, the stories they are getting from the kids. And I don’t know how I can have them tell me, or write, about their relationship with their parents or gender inequality or religion, without knowing those basic trigger words.
Manjul mentioned the need of professional commitment from us.
He also mentioned that in terms of how to go about with the script, that we should pick up on small things that kids mention. Hints into their lives. And that we should go to the families and see the influences we have had on their children. See where that takes us.