Today was another of my government school/ social work days. I have started twice a week now and I am actually beginning to like it. More like enjoy it. But there are strings attached. Strings that are long, heavy and almost impossible to detach. These kids for some reason distrust my co-worker and me. On one hand, they idolize us and on the other, they feel we’re from planet mars. They rush to shake our hands, give us a hug and crack jokes. They cannot wait to tell their weekly stories. Who is taking part in which competition? They smile and their eyes gleam with gusto and excitement. But their work speaks a different language. When asked to express, their mood dampens and enervates. The paper opens a door into their homes. A window into their monotonous and troublesome lifestyle. A juxtaposition of poverty and illiteracy. Joint family systems. Domestic violence and physical abuse. These children are a victims of these conditions almost everyday. Neglect and ill treatment. Some are discouraged to study. Their families want to curb their education. Others are forced to work after school. Boys are used to provide income to their families.
But what strikes me as appalling is how they still come to school, cheerful and enthusiastic. I don’t know how they keep their problems aside to learn the fundamentals of life. It certainly shows a deep sense of maturity and integrity on their part. And as much as I am surprised to see their behaviour, I am also impressed. Knowing that they will get a spanking for no unknown reason, they happily draw colourful fruits and vibrant faces.
I think every week, I find myself learning from them more than what I can give them to learn…………
I don’t know how many of them will make it to college or even university. But I am really glad that I am here to witness this side of these children…..