But most of all, in this past month I have noticed with immense pride, how much Rajkumar has transformed and grown. He was this scrawny teenager whose skeleton frame would be too little for any clothes we ever gave him and though he is still a size-zero model, he is no longer an invisible speck on the walls of Astley Hall. A few months back, we were concerned about Rajkumar getting influenced by the older boys and going off to drink, getting into fights and his addiction to whitener-solution and alcohol. He still has a long way to go about his addiction but he is the Big Brother of Street Smart now! He watches over everybody else and is more staff than student here! He helps with everything and do I see traces of willingness to learn in his stubborn head? I would like to believe I do!
This was the most difficult post to write when I started. There are at least a dozen drafts on my blogger page for this write-up alone and the only thing that ensured I did not give up on it altogether was the prospect of being shouted at by Shaila on my last day here!
Earlier, I would have to often remind myself that is has been only six months since we started. This was when I would start to worry that we are not making enough progress and that we are achieving nothing through our program. In this past month too, I have been constantly reminded that we are only six months old. Only this time, it was when I became too weepy and proud about how much the kids have grown and how much they have transformed and oh look, he is like this now but you should have seen him then and oh oh she has learnt that only now and earlier she would start to swear when anybody asked her to study!
At the end of my last post, I will say this: a few times I have been asked to name the one person in whose life I have made the biggest difference while at Street Smart. The answer to this question has always been one: myself. We have taught the kids nothing compared to what we have learnt and how much we have grown as individuals, workers, thinkers, planners and in a million other ways. So I take with me more than I have been able to give but even so, I am proud of having been (and this bond will not end here) part of something so spectacular.
So long and thank you for all the love and laughs!
PS- I also take with my nits and lice. :