My Heroes

This is an adjunct to my ‘Impromptu’ post.

Two of the three girls that I taught also sang an impromptu song.  I didn’t understand a word of it, but one of the girls looked off into the distance as she sang, and the other one’s eyes stayed fixed on the ground.  Their voices were not strong – there was no joy in their words, and no smiles.  The song finished, they sat down.  The Apne Aap project coordinator who was there leaned over and explained that the song the girls sang was about why are boys treated so much better than girls, why do they get schooling and food when girls do not.  And then it hit me why these young ladies sang the way they sang:  in front of their mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, cousins, teachers, and strangers, they made a declaration – that there is no reason why girls are any different than boys.  Out of all the things they could have sung about, the message of equality is what they wished to convey.

This is a message that definitely needs to be voiced.  Women appear to be marginalized here for the most part.  In my few short days here, men are the predominant force on the street – they are the drivers of all vehicles; I haven’t seen one female driver.  I have not seen a female professional anywhere: at the Baghdogra airport or in the hotel where I am at, all men.  They are servers, ticket-takers, cleaners, cooks, shopkeeps – all men.  Where are the women in this economy?  I’ve seen many of them doing backbreaking work in the fields.

But back to the girls, aged 12.  Their courage to voice their opinion like that makes me speechless.  These ladies are my heroes, the ones who, hopefully and with some support, will eventually make a difference in their lives and possibly the lives of others long after I’ve returned to the US.  Maybe I just witnessed the performance of a female version of Gandhi.  I hope so.


  1. Sandykins said,

    August 9, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    That’s it! That’s what it’s all about!!! Human rights, the right to choose who and what we can and will be. The message of equality. Woo Hoo, what a gift to share. They are heroes. Love you my sweets! Mwah

  2. katie mckeever said,

    August 9, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    When you hear things like that it really inspires you, also makes you Appricate what we already have, even take for granted here in the states.
    It is wonderful that they are speaking out and you are giving them the confidence to keep doing it:)
    Have fun, see you.
    Katie M.

  3. Sensei said,

    August 12, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Hero is not something you ask for it is something you earn by having he courage to do that which you know to be right. God Write’s upon our souls that which is right but in God’s greatest gift to us he gives us the free will to choose. Unfortunately humanity in it’s weakness turns it’s back on that which is written on our souls and we lose our compassion and our souls.

    You are a Hero Belle and I applaude you for your choices and to those girls and the women you are serving you are a hero to them.

    My prayers are with you!


  4. Belle said,

    August 17, 2010 at 6:04 am

    Thank you, Sensei. Your comments mena a lot to me. Am stuck in Forbesgunge; hoping to get back to KGBV tonight to teach. What an experience this all is. I hope some day you’ll get to experience this. Miss you, miss Team, miss the dojo. I’ll be back soon. Belle

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