It was raining again today so we relocated our weekly lunchtime picnic to a place a bit down the tracks where there is more cover. Since this was a new and more removed location I walked up and down the railway calling out the kids and showing them where to go. At times the rain was merely a drizzle but most of the time it was enough to require an umbrella. One of the little boys ran out of his home in his birthday suit with just a plastic bag on his head to protect his hair from the rain. I couldn't stop myself from giggling at the sight of him and his efforts to keep only his head dry. While walking with some of the children both of my sandals (aka chappals) broke beyond use. I had to toss them aside and go barefoot. Oh how the children and the parents worried about my missing chappals and exposed feet! I pointed out that most of them didn't have on chappals which seemed to appease their concerns. Their feet, however, are unarguably much tougher than mine so I resigned after some time to standing in one spot with my rain jacket covering me.

Quickly sweet little Muni came up and shared her umbrella with me. Soon one child became five; all of us huddled under the single umbrella, tangled arm in arm so we could fit without falling over. Sima looked at me and started singing "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." I sang along, she softly mumbled the words she was unsure of but got the tune spot on. We were both completely absorbed in that lullaby song from childhood, that moment together. Wet to our cores, muddied feet, dirtied clothes, a train roaring by just a few yards behind us.... a complete and utter mess but I don't think either of us would have chosen to be anywhere else right then. Just one of the many moments I could just get lost in forever...

In 2 1/2 weeks the new term starts at the school which offers an evening program for slum and street children. As soon as I return from the OS Student Leadership Conference I have been invited to come and see the program, what it offers, how it is run and then start some of the kids in the school. As mentioned previously, we will want to provide each child with a simple uniform. Right now that looks like it will cost around $5 per child but I don't know yet how many children will go. Today I talked with some of the adults, who really want their kids to go to school. They will talk with the other parents this week and hopefully I will have a tentative group by next Sunday. I love when the parents stand behind one of our endeavors, it makes it have that much more potential for success, for it to be pratyasha, a hope which comes true.

"A part of me, apart from me..."

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