Yesterday we went to my mom’s village where she grew up to visit some families. Within two days, five elderly people had died, so we went to visit the families.
To some others, it’s unusual that I’m going to the Ravar’s houses since they only come to the main part of the village to do work for the people who live here. The people from the main part of the village never go to their part. Within a day of us going to visit Rahul and Usha’s family, Ravars have been asking my cousin’s husband to educate their daughters. Many of these parents just want a free handout which is why we went to visit their homes. Education here is free until 8th grade and they usually pull their kids out of school before their finished seventh grade.
This morning I went to Daksha’s house (she comes to our house to do chores) to take pictures of her cousins. It had only been a few minutes and her mom said, “I heard you educating some of the girls here, why don’t you educate my daughters?” She turned to her sister in-law and said, “she going to start paying the fees for Ramjibhai’s son”. I told her that I help those that are willing to go to school every day. I’ve learned that there are few families here who genuinely want to give their children an education. I’ve seen that these are the parents that don’t make their children do work, but instead struggle to make the extra money to educate them. Even then, it isn’t enough.
Today is Poonam and we had to go to the temple, so I could only stay at Daksha’s house for a little while. Poonam is the day of the full moon and everyone goes to the temple to pray for strength to the goddess Maha Kali. As I was heading back home, Daksha’s mom asked me when I’m going back home. I said a little less than a week because school will be starting soon. She replied, “You go to school!?” and I told her I do. She asked me a few more questions and was surprised to hear that I was in college and that both my sisters were done college and now working. She was even more surprised to hear that my eldest sister was continuing her education past college and working at the same time.
On my way home I saw Usha who had just finished washing the dishes at our neighbor’s house. I called her over and reminded her of what we talked about a few days ago when I visited her house. I asked her if she had gotten some things ready to go to school, but she didn’t reply. I know her dad didn’t approve so there was no way she was going to be able to get things ready.
Instead of telling her how great getting an education is and how helpful it is, I started talking about myself. This was the first time I was talking about myself to her and was surprised that I hadn’t talked about myself with any of the other girls. I told her that I finished 12th grade and when I saw how surprised she was, I went on. “I’m in my second year of college and I work too”. I told her some more about school and college and could tell that this was all new to her. I was about to tell her that I didn’t call her for any particular reason, but I could tell she was thinking about something. Instead of talking, we sat in silence.