PIC: Br. Willie D’souza with the students of Providence School
The mystery I call God accompanied me on my journey to transformation. The ten days of Language Learning Immersion Experience was a real transformation experience. The venue that I chose, namely, the Providence School, for my immersion was God sent; the best according to me.
Every morning, I left Lurshai centre at 8 o’clock. I boarded either a bus or a taxi to Polo market and from there I walked up to Providence School. On my way up to the school, I took the risk of talking/chatting with the people. Some were friendly and some were hostile! Nevertheless, it was an amazing experience, being present to the situation, people and to the universe. I was in Providence School by 8:45am and started my day there at 9 o’clock.
In Providence School, from 8:00 am to 10:30 am the children are in various skill training classes, namely, candle making, cooking, baking, bag making, gardening etc., etc. I went into three of these classes, candle making, cooking and gardening. Here, I interacted with the students and teachers. Both the students and the teachers were very co-operative; I put into practice the little Khasi that I had learned and began to converse with the students in their local language. So, it was situational learning and I learned a lot over here. Every day, I learned a new word, I wrote the word and its meaning in my book. As days went by, I became more confident and I began to converse with the children only in Khasi.
At 11 o’clock, I sat in the KG section of Providence School. Here, I listened to the teacher, teaching the little ones in Khasi and English. The teacher was very good because she believed in the dictum, ‘Festina Lente’, hasten slowly. Here, I learned to frame small sentences for conversation and I gave the teacher to correct them. Here, I was ready for the next day’s class with regard to situational learning. It was great! At twelve o’clock, I had my lunch and rested for a while.
At two o’clock in the afternoon, from St. Edmund’s School, I went walking towards Shanti Bhavan, near the Governor’s House. Here, I interacted with the men section of the inmates. We started our session with a prayer in Khasi and I read the day’s Gospel reading for them. One of the inmates then read the same reading and later we had a discussion on the reading in Khasi. The conversation lasted for an hour. This was the daily routine for the next ten days here in Shanti Bhavan. Here, I came in contact with many young and old people, listened to their stories and took the risk of getting to know them. I learned to become more patient with myself and the people here and treated the inmates as my brothers and friends. I left this place at four in the evening and walked to Ward’s lake, I took a taxi from Ward’s lake to Polo market. From Polo market, I walked to Lurshai centre in Lumshyiap. I reached the centre at five o’clock in the evening.
There were many learnings from this immersion. First of all, to have a complete trust in the providence and to believe in the everyday God of surprises! My trust and belief in this everyday God strengthened and I learned to rely on HIM. Taking risk was another learning and I took risks to talk to people in the local language while walking in the market place. I am challenged to meet Christ present in one and all. The God of surprises demands of me faith and compassion- faith in God and compassion for the poor. I have learned a deep sense of God’s abiding presence in all with whom I have come in contact with. I have been invited to live what I have learned. My life has become better and more enjoyable when I look beyond myself to others. I thank my God of surprises for this beautiful experience.