The challenges are the same whether you volunteer for “Big Brother Big Sister” in US or work with poor kids in Pakistan. The human heart and its maladies don’t change. I just wish there were more melodies than maladies.
Today I went to visit Maasi Hasina’s home in Kachra colony to see if I can convince her 11 year old son to come get home schooled by me. My daughter Kinza says that was a daring step but I didn’t feel that way when actually doing it. Before going further, I want to thank my family for the support and encouragement they have been showing towards my stay in Pakistan. Making a vacation home in Pakistan was my dream but the way my husband and all three children have supported it, melts my heart. Not only they encourage my projects they get inspired by them and start more of their own. Real love sets you free and that’s how I feel towards my dear hubby and kids.
Anyways getting off the podium and going back to Maasi Hasina, the first thing that stood out to me is how we expect them to make our home shining bright while they live in a one room, downtrodden, filthy place. If they are surrounded by kachra (garbage) and we expect them to make everything in our homes squeaky clean what does it do to their self worth? Being a Virgo I nitpick all the time about organized, neat, and clean environment but the next time I tell Maasi to do a good job at cleaning my home, I would bite my tongue twice. On a cleanliness scale of 1 to 10, their home is at 1 while we expect them to clean ours at 10. Isn’t it?
Since I just came back from her home, my emotions are raw and wild. I hope her son and daughter both agree to come start home schooling with me but so far I am keeping my fingers crossed. The situation also reminds me of this poor little Afghan girl’s story in Khalid Husseni’s novel “And the Mountains Echoed” who a US based Afghan doctor sympathized and encouraged a lot but forgot all about her after he returned to US. Am I doing the same thing? Will I get these kids excited and motivated about schooling and then leave for US. Its people’s lives. I better be careful.
On the brighter side, I went to see the TCF (The Citizen Foundation) school today too in Qayuumabad which is not too far from Defence where I live. To my utter delight, this school is huge, full of deserving children who were happily playing in recess in the large playground. I spoke to a few teachers and found them very caring and polite. This school is totally run on charity and charges only Rs. 400 ($4) per month for excellent education. My plan is to prepare Maasi’s children at home for the TCF admission test by Aug. But then they have to have birth certificates and Hasina is not sure if she got them, at least not in Karachi, she said “may be in her village near Bahawalpur”. Anyways we will cross that bridge in time.
At this time I am only waiting for their yay or nay tomorrow morning. Home schooling is quite popular in the US anyway. I know quite a few families in Plano who happily home school. Who knows where this adventure goes, if at all.
Update on 9th May:For those who are following Maasi Hasina’s story on my blog, I am sad to report that she finally declined my request to teach her children. She is a good person and a good mother but life’s harsh realities are also undeniable. Some things don’t have a solution, despite your best efforts. I tried hard even to compensate her income and baby sit her youngest but it didn’t work out. I wish her the best but I am sad today.