...Sometimes, a thank you is insufficient. This is one of those times. Two weeks ago, my Aunt Betty and Uncle Jerry Carter of Little Rock, Arkansas reached around the world and extended their hands to provide a caring and generous young girl with a lifetime of opportunity. In honor of the first day of school, I would like to give one very special thank you to the Carters on behalf of their new adopted scholar, Madhu.
The Carters' donation of 1000 USD is far more generous than I or anyone here ever anticipated. In India, the average annual income in 2010 was about $875. One thousand dollars will revolutionize Madhu's life and those of her family. At minimum, it will support Madhu for 4 to 5 years at the Carmel Convent School! Aunt Betty and Uncle Jerry, I am humbled by your selfless and surprise display of magnanimity. Madhu and her family do not yet know just how much love they are receiving. I have not decided how to approach that process. However, I know they are incredibly grateful already.
When I took this picture of Madhu just before Christmas, I never thought that she would be getting the present of a lifetime from my very own aunt and uncle.
At only 10 years of age, Madhu has more maturity and responsibility than most 30 year-old adults I know. Shyamlal, her father, is an industrious day worker at any construction site that will employ him. He is often away from home working or searching for work. Rita, her mother, is a maid in multiple nearby homes. Both Shyamlal and Rita are illiterate and did not plan on ever sending Madhu to school.
With Shyamlal and Rita both working, Madhu was the head of the house. At first, this posed a problem. Shyamlal and Rita refused our support because Madhu had to take care of her four younger siblings. However, the surrounding community seems to have educated the parents that this is an opportunity that must not be missed. Once our most uninterested parents, Shyamlal and Rita are now unwaveringly committed to Madhu's education.
Madhu is already excelling at the Carmel Convent School and shows remarkable discipline. Furthermore, with years of motherly experience, she acts like a caregiver for the entire class. She always walks at the back of the line, picks up dropped items, and fixes any untidy uniforms. Literally and figuratively, all of the students look up to Madhu. I look up to her. She is inspirational. If she makes it to graduation, I will be standing and clapping with a towel full of tears as she crosses the stage.
On behalf of Madhu and her family, thank you Aunt Betty and Uncle Jerry for the shirts, the skirts, the shoes, the socks, the belt, the backpack, the books, and, most importantly, the ability to study at the Carmel Convent School for many years to come! What a way to spend $1000. I love you.