The Kindy kids perform. The girls love to dress up in their special pink dresses.

The Kindy kids perform. The girls love to dress up in their favourite pink dresses.

We’ve just enjoyed a wonderful week in Jordan and arrive home on Monday, so this is our last Shanti Bhavan blog.  Thanks for following – it has kept me on my toes knowing someone out there is reading it.


When the long-standing 2nd Grade teacher left last week after fifteen years, the Kindergarteners dressed up in their finest for a performance to farewell her. She is originally from Indonesia and has visa issues but will hopefully return soon. She has stamped her special style on 15 batches of children and can’t possibly stop now.

Volunteers come and go but life for Shanti Bhavan kids goes on. We are reminded to keep teaching to the end and not be tempted to party with each class as we say farewell. We do reasonably well although the young Scottish teachers, who leave on the same day as us, have been here a lot longer and it seems every kid wants to make them a card or do something special with them.

The four of us were farewelled in assembly on our last day. They dressed up Carlyn in a sari for the occasion. We were all wearing henna tattoos, thanks to some artistic girls the night before.

Four volunteers are farewelled

Four volunteers are farewelled

We were determined not to be sad but were completely undermined by a performance from seven 2nd Graders – straight from Sound of Music – Farewell, Adieu, etc, complete with requisite twirls and actions. They were exceedingly cute.

The Sound of Music crew

The Sound of Music crew


It is traditional for volunteers to sponsor a special treat on their last day and again we sponsored watermelon for snack. The kids don’t get a lot of fruit so they really enjoyed it and it was thirst-quenching on a hot day.

Watermelon treats

Watermelon treats

The 12th Graders

Our last day was capped off with a rendezvous on the Big Rocks with our special group of 12th Graders. Not all of the 24 children who are handpicked each year at four years of age will make it through 14 years to graduate from high school. Children who turn out to be weak academically are given two chances to repeat grades and then sent home where support is provided for them to attend their local school. Remember these are children who may never have had an opportunity to attend school at all but could have grown up breaking rocks in quarries next to their mothers.

We end our Shanti Bhavan 2013 blog with reflections on a special group of children who have kept us coming back. In 2010 we taught them English (Kandy) and Maths (Barney) and so we had a lot to do with them. These delightful kids are currently taking their final exams before commencing university. On Thursday we presented them each with a backpack and suitcase to wish them on their way.

The 9th Grade of 2010

The 9th Grade of 2010

They all sat their English exam on Friday, which was our last afternoon. We joined them to unwind on the famous school rocks at sunset for a photo session. We tried to capture them in the same positions as they were in our memorable photo of three years ago.

The same kids as 12th Graders in 2013

What a difference three years makes! The same kids as 12th Graders in 2013

They were cute 15 year-olds then but now they are fabulous young men and women with the world at their feet. Good luck for the rest of your exams, 12th Graders!

The 12th Graders relax on the rocks at sunset - they are soon to be launched into the world!

The 12th Graders relax on the rocks at sunset – they are soon to be launched into the world!