After a delicious breakfast we went to film another school that our host had helped through Rotary, a Catholic school for tribal girls whose parent’s worked on the coffee plantations left over from the British. The school was high in the mountains at an old British Hill Station, as many schools were. There were many of these Hill Stations in India, the places in the high mountains where the British sought refuge from the Indian heat. The girls were really poor, and although it was chilly by South India standards, not all of them could afford sweaters and shoes.
One of the classrooms held thirty typewriters. The headmistress explained she was planning on ordering more. Our host tried to emphasize to her the necessity of computers. He thought they would be able to obtain some through his Rotary contacts.
Next, we headed over to the rich girls’ version of the school (I dislike saying it that way, but it was. The same church ran both the schools, but the girls were separated rich and poor, with the schools being right next to each other). We were warmly welcomed by the sisters there, too. They took us to meet Sister Bernard, headmistress of the school: a small Irish Catholic nun, dressed all in white, with a twinkle in her blue eyes.
None of the girls went home, this was a boarding school. As we came inside with the camera the girls all giggled and laughed. We spoke with the girls, and finished touring the school. After we said our goodbyes, we walked by the cathedral. I glanced in and saw Mother Bernard standing at a pillar before the pews, leaning over one of the books, in a meditative like way. She was reading and praying, and I could feel radiating from her, her love of god, of Jesus, of children, of life. It touched me, the sight of her, the same way the sight of our host’s wife praying in her puja room had moved me that morning… these beautiful women, so in touch with the reverence of divinity, of life. Different religions, same love. I was grateful to be around them, to have been given the chance to meet and learn from such women. This trip was turning out to be quite special to me.