…At 5 o’clock last night, with the sun beginning to set, I received a call from an unfamiliar number. It was the convent. The sisters were wondering if I could show them where I have been teaching and take them on a tour of the slum. Four minutes later, I was sitting in the convent dormitory talking with all four of the nuns. I could not have felt more spirit in the air if I had been sitting with the Pope in the Vatican. After a short talk, Sister Pushpa, Sister Prasanna, Shri, and I set out on foot toward the slum, leaving the other two sisters to watch over the convent.
Although classes were already over for the day, the single empty room of the school seemed to humble even the sisters. I could tell their minds were busy thinking of additional ways they could help.
As we continued our tour of the slum, an atmosphere of hope and safety encompassed us everywhere we walked. The sisters greeted and placed their arms around nearly every child we came across. The locals, who seemed to understand who and what the sisters represented, welcomed them with utmost reverence and respect.
These two little children captivated all of us. They were working with their mother to thread holes and insert screws into casings for ceiling fan mounts. The nuns were impressed by such an initiative as well as by the children’s dexterity and work ethic at such young ages. The sisters told me that children like them sometimes grow up to make the best students. They will, no doubt, have great dexterity and work ethic.
After about an hour of walking, a teenage girl in a government school uniform came running out of an alley. Sister Prasanna and the girl recognized each other immediately. Years ago, the Carmel Convent School had an evening program for slum children up through the fifth standard. Funding, however, dwindled and the program was shut down. This teenage girl had been a student in that program and will soon become one of the few women in the slum to have graduated from 12th standard. With tears in her eyes, the teenage girl graciously thanked and praised the sisters.