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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

On Holiday.

Coimbatore was home to the International Tamil Conference last week, so things have been a bit different at FFC during this district-wide holiday. While classes were on hold, FFC held activities for the children all week, such as drawing and writing competitions and fancy dress-up days. This past Saturday, we had the pleasure of being the “guests of honour” at the event that wrapped up the week’s festivities – an awesome variety show held in the girls’ living quarters. Dozens of children sat in rows on the floor or atop of the bed frames stacked along the back of the room. Everyone was super-excited to get the show started, including all of the FFC teachers that were MC’ing the event. We watched as the pre-schoolers danced for us in their frilly dresses. The grade one and two classes performed their own numbers as well. A few of the little boys dressed up as old men (complete with painted on moustaches) and put on a short play. Some of the teen girls at FFC performed some impressive dance numbers from popular Tamil movies...the FFC kids are certainly an adorable and talented bunch! At the end of the show, prizes were awarded to the winners of the various contests held throughout the week, and every teacher was gifted with a new tiffin (a metal lunch box). On their way out, every child got some candy, a colourful pencil and ruler, and a sticker. No one went away empty-handed and everyone had a great time!
While we were watching the show we couldn’t help but think of how if we were putting this show on with our classmates at school, our parents would be in the audience taking our picture, waving at us, and telling us how proud they were of our performance afterwards. We thought how hard it must be for these kids to not have that. But the reality is that they did have it. The people watching them dance in the audience is their family. We have to remind ourselves continually that while these kids may not have a family in the conventional sense, they do have a family in the staff at the school, the mom’s who take care of them in the girls house and the boys house and in all the other little boys and girls that they live with.

For us, the most memorable part of the whole experience was seeing, again, how much of a family FFC really is. All of the children and staff here treat one another as their own and you can see that as they cheer for their brothers and sisters at performances like this one, or on any other day in the classroom or in the yard. The teens are mentors to the younger ones, and the little kids look after the even littler ones! In the special-care rooms, the senior students look after the more challenged students and they all learn from each other. Some of the staff themselves grew up at FFC and now continue to give back to the place they called home. During Saturday’s show, we felt like we were allowed into a family gathering and we really did appreciate the opportunity to be a part of such a loving and supportive environment.

We took a bit of a holiday ourselves on Sunday and explored more of Tamil Nadu with a day trip to Ooty –a popular tourist spot a few hours away from FFC and home to the highest mountain peak in all of Southern India. The drive into Tamil Nadu’s mountainous region was a scenic one and we took plenty of photos of the area’s lush greens, bustling hill station areas, and small villages nestled in the steep slopes. The day was really lovely and it was nice to get away for the day and to see a completely different part of the country. We saw monkeys and elephants on the drive up the mountain, and the expansive tea fields on the way home. All in all it was a really lovely day. love Kayla, Marissa, Jeremy and Pranavi

1 comment:

  1. ... too precious !

    Glad to read about your journey - very inspiring.

    We miss you back home Pinky !!!