Today I visited the Contact Center to see what a typical day is like for the students there. Our day began as children filtered in and ate breakfast, and then we started the morning routine by singing and dancing together, in both Nepali and English. After a brief mediation session to focus our minds, we were ready to learn! The younger kids practiced writing numbers in Nepali, while older kids worked on English words for colors and multiplication tables. We also had breaks for play time, of course -- puzzles proved especially popular with all ages.

I was raised by teachers and I have a tremendous amount of respect for the hard work they do, but Sarita and Mina take their responsibilities as teachers to another level entirely! I filled out worksheets as a child to learn subjects like handwriting and math. Here, Sarita and Mina write out the assignments by hand in each individual student's notebook. They know their students so well, and speak of them (and to them) with love and respect. They describe the children to me with words like "intelligent," "kind," and "hardworking."

At the end of the day, Sarita and I walked home with a few of the students to check in. Sarita and Mina regularly make home visits and I was grateful to be welcomed in as well. The parents we met today work as tailors and housecleaners, and all of the homes we visited were arranged similarly -- one room for an entire family, and sometimes only one bed. Seeing where the students come from underscored for me the importance of the Contact Center as a safe, welcoming, additional source of support in their lives.

But more about that tomorrow!  Sara