When we decided to go to Pathway together we honestly did not know what to expect. I had been to India once in my life, at the age of 10, for the inauguration of the farm, but that was as far as my experience with India and specifically Pathway reached, and for Saba it was his first time. The only real expectation we had was to make some sort of difference at Pathway. How and what, we would find out once we got there.
Under the direction of Dr. Prasad and Chandra we planned to teach Science, Mathematics, English, and Computer Class to various standards from IV to VIII. In addition to teaching, we were assigned to take some of the boys for swimming class.
Our daily life for the five weeks we were at Pathway therefore consisted of time in the classroom, time at the pool, and time spent playing with the kids during their recesses and free times. What we learned, however, stretched far deeper than just playing and teaching. We knew beforehand that the children had come from backgrounds of profound poverty. But it was not until we were able to spend real time with them that we truly realized how little they had had in their life and how much Pathway was providing for them. What is more, by spending meaningful time with the kids we wanted them to know that we believe in them, have hope in their future and faith in their ability to make something of their lives, irrespective of their very humble beginnings. We wanted to instill in them a belief that they could do it if they tried and that even though they did not start in life in favorable circumstances by any standard, they could have a life of fulfillment and joy and that they had the support and love of people from entirely different backgrounds in far away countries.
The most rewarding aspect, therefore, was not reading English poems or learning about different kinds of animals together. The greatest reward was the relationships we formed with the kids we spent time with learning, playing, and laughing together. We love the children of Pathway, and look forward to returning in the very near future!
Jean Butel and Saba Nader