"I am learning to say thank you.
I am learning to say please
I am learning to use Kleenex,
Not my sweater, when I sneeze.
I am learning not to dribble.
I am learning not to burp.
I am learning to chew softer
When I eat corn on the cob.
I am learning that it's much
much easier to be a slob."
As the room broke into applause, Shiksha smiled shyly and took a quick bow before joining the rest of her classmates off the make-shift stage in Maitri's basement.
For weeks, the children that visit our Tutorial Center have been coming extra hours to learn and rehearse for the "Little Star's of Maitri" show. On Wednesday, they showed up in their cleanest clothes, best jewelry, kohl-lined eyes, and colorful streamers to show off all their hard work. With Winnie Ma'am and the General watching from the seats of honor, and many parents and siblings present to watch, the show began.
Mahima recited a poem about her shadow - in beautiful English, I might add! Amit and Vikas sang adorable Hindi songs. Nitesh, Sonali, and Aman performed "The Boogie Woogie," which we call "The Hokey Pokey" in the States. The three musical dance numbers were executed with so much enthusiasm - there wasn't a still foot or an un-smiling face in the whole audience.
These children have grown so close to Kat's, Kaitie's, and my heart in the short month we've been at Maitri. Each day when we walk down stairs to the classroom, they all stand and say precisely, "Good Afternoooon, Ma'am!" Then they sit and wait with expectant, eager eyes, ready to learn all we have to offer. It was so fun to see their enthusiasm for school translate into their enthusiasm for art, music, and dance.
We are SO proud of our "Little Stars" and feel so lucky to be part of the institution that helps them grow - Maitri.