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  • the little children wouldn't leave. they'd come to the inauguration of our 6-day communicative english retreat with their older brothers and sisters. and they decided to stay. they formed their own study circle and named themselves the "feelings" group.

    they were our most active participants when we played "mingle mingle mingle", an interactive conversation game. the most energetic when we danced bhangra and did yoga. the most concentrated when we practiced meditation. and the most serious when we did study. we explored the qualities of a master student. we conjugated verbs. we wrote life stories. we analyzed the causes of stress in our lives and learned about stress management. we did goal-setting. and we created self-care action plans.

    these young students had stories. and stresses. and goals. they already had a vision of giving back to their society. they were inspired by dr. ambedkar and energized by the cooperative and harmonious spirit of our retreat.

    in the afternoons they had their own session to practice dramas, which they'd perform in our evening program. when they were free they took my camera and photographed one another. they took out their notebooks and wrote their assignments. they lined up the shoes neatly outside the shrine room.

    one afternoon i spotted them collecting the teacups, washing them quietly, all on their own. the youngest boy was singing as he worked. the words, in malayalam, went, "i didn't know your love for me."
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