Of course we were nervous! It is difficult to engage these super-brain brats for two hours at one place, let alone almost four hours! But it was wonderful! We started with painting and we made peacocks with hand prints like this:
Then we all sat around and talked about the things that we like and dislike about the rain, and in the process, did some spellings of these words like बरसात (rain), बारिश (rain), भीगना (getting wet), बादल (clouds), बिजली (lightning) and छाता (umbrella). Our teacher Usha taught the kids a four-line poem on the rain and we had a lot of fun dividing the kids into two teams and practicing the poem for about fifteen minutes. The teams called themselves ‘Khali’ (after the wrestler) and ‘Akshay Kumar’ (after the Bollywood actor) and they recited the poem in turns three times! Finally, since the competition was getting too intense and the kids were looking ready to start beating each-other up, we had them all stand in one group as team Street Smart and recite the poem together!
Our favourite volunteer/founder-member Neelu Khanna brought biscuits and chocolates for the kids so after the intense stand-off between teams Khali and Akshay Kumar, we decided to re-bond as one group over cups of tea and biscuits and chocolates.
During this time, we told the kids a folk-tale of why rains happen. The story, in brief is that the sky looked down at the Earth one day and fell in love with her. They decided to get married and when all preparations were done, the people on Earth went to her crying and begged her not to marry Sky because then we would have no place to live. Finally, though it broke her heart, the Earth decided not to marry Sky for the sake of her children-the people and animals living here- and to this day, every time the Sky looks at the Earth he weeps and this is why it rains. We talked about how the wedding dress for Earth was made, using stars from the sky and pearls from the sea and I am sure it was the overcast sky and the cool moisture in the wind, but there was a little bit of magic right then!
Monday was also special because we drew a bath schedule for the kids. So all the children here will have a bath once a week (to begin with). Bath days will kill one of us one day (that is the kind of mayhem happening on such occasions!!) so fixed bath schedules offer not only a more do-able alternative, but also one that will ensure each child is scrubbed at least once a week.
While earlier we were worrying about the rains, I think with a little pre-planning and lots of stories, we should be good when the monsoons finally arrive! 🙂