Our stay in India is winding down - we've said a lot of goodbyes in the last couple of days - some of them to the same people several times.
Day Six began early , as we headed to the kids' school so that we could work with them to finish their film - we were scheduled to present the film at a special lunch mid-day, so the project had to get done. Final touches including naming the film ("Back to the Roots") and re-recording some audio that wasn't clear on the original video. We also had to create a DVD for presentation after the luncheon. Working together, the kids made the deadline, and we all headed across the street to celebrate with officials from the school and the Trust that has been hosting us here in India. Both kids and adults were treated to a first-class lunch (we've been having many, many traditional Indian foods). They've been aware of our every comment, so when one of our party commented a couple of days ago that she was taking a little break from Indian food, they were extra careful to ask us repeatedly if the food was okay - was it too spicy, do we want a sandwhich, etc.
After the lunch, we went to the principal's office to present to the same crowd the story of our program, and present the finished video. We then asked the kids to come in, so that we could present them with certificates celebrating the success of the workshop. By now, we've gotten to know most of the kids, so we were each able to add a bit of a personal comment about each kid. The audience there responded very well to the video, and to the concept of bringing young filmmaking to the poor of India. These kids, who are more priveliged, will now be teaching what they have learned with us to poor children.
Finally, it was time to leave the school, and our young friends. They shook our hands, took pictures and finally hugged us goodbye. It's quite possible that we might return in a few months, so the sadness in parting was tempered in part by the promise of the future.
On the way back to the hotel, we stopped off at a little cyber cafe in the Indian version of a strip mall, where we need to prepare for a press conference the next day. This is, unfortunately, also where I lost a cap I bought at the Twin Towers in Kuala Lubpur. Easy come, easy go....
Day Seven featured the press conference, where we explained what we had been doing with the kids, the concept of the program, and presented the video. A few of the kids were also there to demonstrate for the press how the camera and software worked and tell them of their experience with our workshop - and also, yet again, shake our hands and hug us goodbye.
We've been fortunate to be working with such a great group of kids, and to have hosts that have made our stay an exciting experience in every way. I told the kids as we presented them certificates that I will always see their faces whenever I think of India.
Tomorrow, Sunday, is our final day in India - late that night we take off for the long journey home....