Our school in the Elephant Village was closed on September 13th and 14th, in observance of a holiday called Eid. We still came to the village on the 13th, but as guests instead of teachers. The children were all dressed up for the occasion, and they eagerly welcomed us into their homes.
We visited three homes that morning, and in each home we were given delicious food. The second home that we visited was one that we had already visited on our first day in the Elephant Village. In the first visit to that home, we discovered that the family often ate only one meal a day. And yet even this family was offering us food, including big samosas they had purchased at a bakery outside the village.
On the one hand, it was very hard to eat the food that they offered when they had so little to eat and we had so much. But at the same time, I understood that being able to feed us gave this family a source of pride. Coming from the Western World, where society is run by greed and capitalism, it can be hard for me to wrap my head around such selflessness.
If I somehow lost everything, would I continue trying to help people as much as I do now? Could I be as generous as these families in the Elephant Village? As much as I want to say that I could be just as selfless, deep inside I know that this is probably not true. If I didn’t even have enough food to sustain myself, it’s hard to imagine giving some of it away, especially to someone who already has plenty of food. But these families seem to be able to put kindness and generosity ahead of their own personal needs, which is such an inspirational thing to witness.
I hope that, as I continue to work with these children and their families, I will start learning to replace my desire for more “stuff” (a new phone, more clothes, etc.) with a desire to make people smile. We may be teaching these children a lot about school, but they can teach us a lot about life.
P.S. We are currently doing the annual fundraiser to keep this school open for another year! Please click here to donate to this amazing cause and help my beloved students stay in school. Any amount makes a difference! Thank you!!!