- Tigri School
- Connecting with kids
- Embracing India
- A Maccas run with a difference
Today saw us take a couple of rickshaws and head to HOPE’s Tigri school.
Located in one of the poorer neighbourhoods in Delhi, what began as lessons under a tree has now become a multi-story facility providing an education as well as a midday meal for hundreds of students.
After speaking a few words of Hindi the classroom teacher promptly forgot about her other students and decided I was her number one priority. While I spent a long time writing and re-writing words on the board it was great to see everyone in the team connecting so well with the children.
Our team had already embraced overcrowded vehicles, insane driving and a 1.5 star hotel and I was so proud of the way each of them opened their hearts to kids they had only just met.
One of the children introduced Nick to a fantastic addition game best described as “Finger Cricket”. The game involves a batter and bowler, who on the count of three hold out anywhere from 1-5 fingers. If both players choose the same number the batter is out. If not, the batter scores the amount of fingers they were holding out.
As a Math teacher I was impressed at such a simple game which uses logic, planning and a bit of luck, while at the same time can be used to practice and teach strategies for adding various numbers.
Lessons from a Western Icon
Ever the educator, our trip to Maccas was also going to come with a lesson attached. I didn’t realise I’d get my own lesson on the way there as I was thrown behind the wheel of a Rickshaw and given the chance to drive.
Eating McDonald’s in India is a status symbol, a sign of wealth and proof that you have ‘made it’. We asked the team to look around, keen to see if they could spot anyone with dark skin. They struggled. While wealthy Indian’s work in air conditioned buildings, the poor labor under the sun, causing their skin to darken. The darker your skin, the poorer people assume you are. This was our first lesson, and one that provides a framework to understand the countless advertisements for white skin.
The second came after spending a record $64 ($8 each) on dinner. Naturally, some of the boys thought they were about to receive a lesson in guilt. While I did point out that what we spent on Maccas was equivalent to 9 breakfasts as a team, 647 cups of Chai or 1078 Roti, guilt was not the point. The response we encouraged was to acknowledge and enjoy the blessings in our own lives, while developing a desire to pass on those blessings to others. After many trips to India and Nepal, I believe this is a more positive way to attack the problem of living in ignorant comfort and shutting our eyes to the needs of others. (*we are encouraging generosity, not a worldwide Maccas run!)
Tonight was to be our last night in Delhi, tomorrow we would head to Kolkata.