It was a relaxing day. A calm, peaceful bike ride through the countryside. Our bikes weave back and forth avoiding the potholes, rocks and the one snake slithering across the road. We stop to visit our students’ homes along the way and leave them our bikes. It’s a small, simple gift. It has a significant impact. They walk several miles to learn at our center and every evening, they fearlessly disappear into the darkness. “Good bye, teacher. See you tomorrow” as they dash away smiling.

I wonder if they contemplate their hardships and challenges. Or if they know what awaits their future. Their smiles and laughter conceal their calloused hands and feet and, some, injury scar from audacious labor. But all that – their daily struggles, our privileges – doesn’t matter. For now, all that matters is that they learned “good morning” and we learned “aroun susadai”. At this moment, we are present in their reality.

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