Living in a boarding school for four months we saw kids every single day. Lots of them. The school has students from 6th grade through 12th grade, 600 students, so we saw them all most of the day, at least to say good morning.
Besides the teachers, there are also other people living up in The Fort and they have children of all ages, of course. We saw them walking down, or riding their bikes or taking their bus down to school, or going places, playing or just passing by.
Most of them say “Hello!” as if they were practicing their English. And some of them would continue their conversations to “Where from?”
There was one kid in The Fort whose English was as good as mine. Not that mine is perfect, but for a 10 (or so) year old, I was always surprised to hear him talk so well. He didn’t attend school, but knew the story of the Palace on The Fort very well and spoke Spanish, Hindi and Italian besides English. Billy, talked to everyone! He has a great personality and I’m sure and really hope he does great things as he grows up.
He came to our house within the first week or so we had arrived asking for money for one of the festivities. It was him doing the talk and explaining, with 4 or 5 more of his friends. I gave him some money and he made some comment about not being as much as our friend Mac down a couple of houses. But he was OK with it. The next day he shows up again asking for more money. By the third visit I said he’d have to wait a little longer before coming back. Our conversations were getting a little expensive.
Living at The Fort we were isolated of lots of things. We didn’t see as many people, or saw lots of cars. It was very quiet for Indian standards. When we went to Goa, even just in the drive down from the forest, it was really fun to see all the kids in uniform coming and going from school.
Here are some of these pictures.
And do you see how close we are to them? I’m taking all these pictures from inside the car, while we are driving. Though the driver was very careful and a great driver we were still extremely close to all the people walking and motorcycles and cars and trucks riding along with us. Oh… I do not miss driving in Indian roads.
The students at our school had a pretty busy schedule. They wake up before 6 am, do exercise, then breakfast, assembly and classes all morning until lunch at 1:45pm. After that, they’d go to their houses and change into their sports clothes for the afternoon. They can pick any of the sports or hobbies they’d like to do. From sports they could choose from basketball, to track and field, soccer (football), archery, skating, hockey, basketball, squash, table tennis, horse back riding, and cricket.
The hobbies were varied as well and they could do arts, music, sciences, languages, literature… lots of things to choose from. The sunset ceremony, studies, dinner and time at their houses before bed time. They keep them busy. They are very busy all day, but they seem to have many choices in the afternoons at the school.
Besides the students at the school, and Billy, we only met few other kids that are the teacher’s children. But not many more besides them. Being at the school on The Fort, on top of this plateau was great in many ways, but it felt a little isolated from the rest of the city.
Before going to India last summer, we watched and read a lot about the country, the families, culture and customes, trying to understand a little before we went. We thought it would be helpful for Lucas and Siena to have an idea before arriving to this new place. I think it helped, and mostly I think it was really fun to learn this way, even before we were out of our house. One of the videos we watched was about different schools around the country. It was a great video told by kids, where we could have a little glimpse of what children and schools were like in India.
Now, having spent four months there, with our experience, we can say that kids are kids everywhere. How beautiful is that! And how cute is this beautiful baby!