The Monsoon Has Begun — What About School?

The summer heat has broken; monsoon has begun.  Vacation is over as school had closed for the intense summer heat.  Now begins the season of figuring out if and when the girls go to school.   For Ganga, yesterday was her first day back at school.  Ganga has CP and cannot speak but she attends Class II in the local government school.  Yesterday was her first day back.  A massi (childcare worker) goes with her.  On the way home yesterday Ganga started to cry.  She wanted to go back.  She loves school.  This morning at 5:30 it was wet out but not raining, so I said to get her ready and if the weather clears to take her, if not she would stay home.  At 6:30 she was ready to go and they took her to the doorway and then told me it was raining. (not the best sequence of events) so I said to keep her home.  Ganga protested, yelling and thrusting her body towards the door.  So we covered her up, and they went to school.

Ganga has fought to go to school since she arrived at four years weighing 17 pounds.

Jelly slept in… her answer to monsoon
Ganga came home at 8:30 am with three new books, and very happy.
In the meantime, our four older girls started back to school today.  Usually we walk them to the bus stop.  We pay for the schoolbus to pick them up and bring them back, but we bring them back ourselves.  We never know exactly when they will be dropped off by the bus, or even where.  Also the bus waits for a later class to get out, so some students have to wait an extra hour to come home.  No, the school will not give them a place to be, except one covered concrete area.  They can’t play on the grounds because some classes are going on, and they can’t study because there’s no place to be.  They are not supposed to board the buses early but they do.  Namely, there is no supervision or security.  So we pick them up.
This is our first monsoon season with this school.  So this morning we took them by car to the bus stop.  The bus never arrived.  Finally Bijoy called the bus company and they said they weren’t running buses because of the rain.  So we took them to school, and learned they will get out early.  I’m wondering how many children actually came.  But, our girls are there.  We are always under scrutiny there.
As I look out the window now, the rain has slowed, but the road is flooded — only about six inches.  Monsoon always has mystery to it, whether there will be more or less flooding as a result of the “drainage improvements” in the previous year.  As this was an election year there were many improvement projects.  But judging from the flooding after only a few hours of rain this morning, I’m guessing we are set for “minus improvement” which is when the water level goes up after the drainage pipes have been re-done.  Sometimes it will rain for days, but now we have flooding after four hours.
I’ve just sent Bijoy and Pearl, our house supervisor to go to the school and wait.  They have lunch money with them in case they have trouble getting back.   Most f our teachers at Shishur Sevay live close by and are able to get here.
p.s. I had a dream last night that I was in a hotel with my family in the US and then the hotel lobby became a shallow pool about six inches deep and I was sitting in the water in the sunlight holding Victoria, my 9 month old granddaughter and feeling wonderful.  To live “in the present” is sometimes to live more than one life at once, more than one set of feelings, yearnings, love — all true, and all happening at the same time. 

“I Never Thought I Would See Such A Place In My Life!”

Those were the words written in their diary exercise books during our vacation at Mondarmani Beach, a barely developed stretch of coastland along the Bay of Bengal.

My life has taken me to new places.


She was terrified of the water at first!


Everything is new, except for big sisters taking care of little sisters




She loves life and lives it to its fullest

  It was four days of beauty, four days of children at peace.  Years ago I wrote a poem about being on a beach with “Children playing in the gently lapping waves of the shallow ocean shore…”  And, “Holy cows walk beside us as though time were forever.”

"Holy cows walk beside us as though time were forever..."

For me, this time with the girls was a time of peace, a dream fulfilled, an image from the past played out in the present.  I am living life to its fullest.

June 2011
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