The OWC's volunteers all arrived around the same time. Some car pooled and some of us came alone, we all were very happy to be there.
All we had to do was grade completed test exams using an answer key for the subjects of Math, Science, English and Logic. Easy veezy, all I had to do was take the completed exam answer forms and check them against the answer keys. Technically it should have been a breeze. Well it wasn't. I found myself cheering on the first exam sheet I graded as the candidate made a score of 23 out of 25 (one point for each question, 25 questions)! Then I felt myself cringing when the next candidate was 0 for 10 and the rest of the page was blank. I went to bat for the next candidate who somehow skipped a question and had correct answers but were on the wrong line, not corresponding to the correct question numbers. Nope, couldn't give him/her the point...I tried. Felt my heart going out to the ones who struggled in the Math exams. And was so impressed that these young kids even knew what an obtuse angle, parrallelograms, and biomedial sections were. Heck I don't even if I'm spelling those correctly much less what they are...
It was an exercise of the heart and mind. My mind knowing that not everyne would get in even if they all scored brilliantly there was only room for so many. The heart wanting everyone to do well and to somehow make it in. There were alot of tests to grade. I'm not sure how many kids attended and took the exams but there were at least over 100. Next thing you know the written exams grading was over, yay! Now time for lunch and then on to the oral exams. Now this is the part that I had originally signed up for, I was so excited to do my part. This portion of the test consisted of potential students reading a paragraph then telling what that paragrah meant to them. They would be graded on reading ability, reading comprehension, and articulation. Here we would actually interact with the potential students! In a perfect world I would have more to tell you about this part of the exams. Instead shortly after lunch I broke into a sweat and could feel my stomach churning. I instantly realized I would not be able to participate any longer so I said my goodbyes and asked my driver to get me home pronto. The bathrooms in the school were immaculate, but they were the ones with the ceramic holes in the ground (turkish toilets) and I have not mastered the art of squatting on those things and was not about to try mastering these things on this occassion. Not with the stomach issues we have been experienceing lately, no way Jose, I popped 2 immodium pills and it was goodbye for me.
I wish I could have stayed for the whole day process. Would have loved to meet more students and parents and share in their excitement of the day. But the little that I did experience was so good. It was soul food and I will feast on the memory of what I was able to learn and see today. It did my heart and soul good to see that in this tough part of the world that there are people like Bobji, Seethamma, Yokamma, who touch the lives of so many by doing what they love. I thank them for the glimpse into that world today and for what they are doing for the children and families in this part of India.