The Power of Generosity
The heat was getting close to unbearable. It had been much worse than I was used to in India but this was undoubtedly the most out of the three days. We were at the Riverside School, which was a school in Ahmadabad we had visited with for two days. After a writing workshop that we sat through, students thought that it would be good to move around a bit and play some basketball. We were about fifteen of us on the indoor court, with a single fan running in the corner, while all wearing pants and collared shirt — It got sweaty almost instantly. All players started to really get into the game but no matter how many times I wiped my face with the back of my hand, my forearm or my shoulder, the sweat would not stop. I thought that I may have been the only one, but I looked around the court and everyone was covered in sweat, even the spectators. It was not a problem for a while because we were enjoying the game and we were getting used to sweat casually dripping down our faces. The Riverside players were working at full speed making some pretty impressive plays and shots, but slowly I and some other Niswarthians were slowing down in effort. At some point though, the heat became too much for me to bear on the court. I played my share but my priority had now switched to locating an air conditioned room and sitting for a while. Some other Niswarthians and I found the closest classroom with both the AC and four fans in the room already turned on. We sat down for a while just regaining our breath and realizing how sweaty we were. I realized that my beige colored pants had now turned into a darker shade around the knees. After some time, some of the Riverside students that had came into the room with an assortment of Tupperwares. The laid them out onto a table and opened them showing that they brought us a bunch of food. Instantly, there was no other movement in my body other than letting out a lasting smile. A day earlier, when one of the students was giving three of us a tour of the school, one thing we talked about a lot was the food in Gujarat. She told us that it was known for its incredible foods, and also tried to describe some of them to us. She ended the conversation by saying that she would love to bring us some. I was left with a sense of uncertainty that she would not actually do that for us because of how much effort it would have taken. I remember one moment where they were explaining each type of food while we were testing them, all the while still recovering from the basketball game. I knew there and then that that moment would be one to not forget.
Riverside was different than any other school I had ever gone to. The students are incredibly creative whether it is portrayed in the artwork on the walls or the numerous different challenges they are faced with throughout the twelve years at the school. The school is also dependent on student leadership. It is the students who have come up with the rule book, chores, appreciation system. For the younger grades, they got the chance to name all the rooms. The most incredible quality that stood out in the students and staff was their generosity and urge to help the community. They had explained several of the service projects they have been doing in their community, but it also was clearly shown in being hosts for us. Students had volunteered to sacrifice two days of class solely to spend time with us. The faculty also ensured that we would have a wonderful time by allowing us to sit in on classes and even bringing us food during both days. Generosity undoubtedly stood out when the students voluntarily brought this food for us just so that we could have a chance to try them. At home, when we would give students a tour of the school, it took less than thirty minutes and we brought them through a route. At Riverside, the image of the school was one of the things the students cared about the most. It was not like they treated it as hosting, but more like the opportunity to make friends. I wished we could have spent more time with our new friends. We thanked them multiple times, but a simple thank you could not represent how grateful we were for what they surprised us with.