Chandru (fourth from left) has no father, and his mother is very poor, so he and his two brothers and two sisters live at the Pamela Martinez Orphanage School near Chennai, India. His mother works in the kitchen, and he studies in the fourth grade.
After several months of grueling preparation, the current tenth graders were finally all set to face their crucial public examinations conducted by the government in April. This marked the end of their 11-12 year stay at Pathway. Each of them entered as ‘tiny – tots’ in kindergarten at the Pamela Martinez Matriculation School. Now all have grown into young men and women ready to face the world. During their life at Pathway, these children were showered with love, good education and comprehensive care, amidst great freedom to learn. They were taught values that would shape their character.
With the end of their stay at Pathway it was felt that all of them should carry with them pleasant memories and teachings, and should receive final words from some of the people who helped in chiseling their character and contributing to their lives in significant ways. These young students had the great blessing of listening to two great gentlemen, Judge William Sheffield and Gary B. Sabin, who appeared via Skype, all the way from California, nearly 9000 miles away. Judge Sheffield (or ‘Grandpa’ to hundreds of Pathway children) conveyed his great love to them. He asked all to follow the Saviour. He counseled the children to always remember Pathway and be grateful for what they had received. Gary Sabin lucidly explained values to be imbibed and exhorted the children to love one another. He narrated stories to vividly illustrate great virtues. He urged the children to read the scriptures every day and be close to our Heavenly Father. Several children, including Monisha, Satya, and Akash, thanked Judge Sheffield and Gary Sabin for their love and described their lives at Pathway. The event was marked with joy and singing of hymns.
The word “Ethiri” in Tamil (or “Adversary”) has a powerful negative connotation often referring to external factors or predominantly to people around us. The Dance Drama “Ethiri–The Enemy Within” was staged by special children to a discerning audience in Chennai.
It was a fantastic and a moving experience to see the children from Pathway and the Sabin Centre perform without any stumbling, with perfect harmony and coordination. The footwork in the traditional dances of ‘Mohiniyattom’ was noteworthy and matched performances by professional dancers. To portray the adversary within or the negative emotions and thoughts, a dancer draped in black appeared as a physical representation, an alter ego of negativity, at the appropriate moment in the story, to communicate effectively to the children. Based on characters and stories drawn from Indian folklore, negative emotions such as intense passion, anger, jealousy, etc., were highlighted.
This highly colourful and well-produced costume play had a large contingent of nearly 30 children and adolescents from both facilities. Tulsidas was Prasanna, and his wife was enacted by beautiful Maria. The enemy within was played with aplomb by Prabhu. The play had a large dance troupe that was led by Beena, ably assisted by a bevy of beauties that included Esther, Aishwarya, Devi, Kashifa, and Vani. They danced with perfect synchrony with music, never missing a step. Thala, Karthick , Goverdhan, Diwakar, Tamil Mani, Mugappan, and Manoj excelled in their individual roles. Mathew, Balaji, Joseph, Deva, Bharath, Sudeep, Gokul Raj and Gopi stole the show as greedy businessmen. The dance drama depicted the natural man and showed how Satan or evil forces pollute the mind by bringing about intense passion for money, pride, and jealousy, which replace faith in the Almighty. The play underlined how change of heart takes place through divine intervention, thus converting the natural man into a God-fearing, loving and a humble man.