Under the shade of a tall, deciduous tree the women rested after a day of digging. As part of their NREGA work they will create a lake to hold water during the rains. I directed the mass of idle ladies and hyper children. "The women that want to learn, make a circle here. Everyone else, move to the other side."
Shantaji worked with a group of four who knew the alphabet but needed help with numbers. Nikhil and I both worked with a group of four each, teaching them basic letters. My group worked for an hour and a half, at the end of which the numbers of letters they learned came to a whopping total of three. Paanchi was sitting in the back, but caught on fast. By 2 pm she was making words. In the same time, another woman still had not grasped that a vertical stick symbolized the sound 'aa'. Everyone learns at their own pace.
What I loved about today was the enthusiasm of our students. They wanted to learn, and that made all the difference. Since the class was held during the day there was no worry about it getting too dark or too late. Moreover, we had a group of 12 or so instead of the 4/5 that managed to come to Ratni's earlier. As we left the NREGA site, I felt recharged. This could work.
Another trip to Bhilwara. Eating out. A cold bath, in a bathroom. Clean clothes. Besan ke laddoos. Charged appliances. It was a good day.