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Off to school in Moga

Lindsay Houts Published: February 13, 2013

We unpiled from our luggage-topped car in Moga, stepping around a pile of trash and weaving through a maze of bicycles and into the warm sunlit patio of a school. Between shy giggles, the students presented each of us with single roses wrapped in heavy plastic, the kind you might find on a counter at a gas station.

The Rotary Club in Moga funds the school that these girls attend. Six months ago the students didn’t have desks — they sat on the floor. Now they sit three to a desk that’s meant for two.

I asked to use their washroom, and a young girl, 9 or so, took my hand and guided me up the cement stairs to the teachers’ bathroom.

She was waiting for me when I came out, and although she knew very little English, she knew enough to invite me to her classroom. I walked in with her, my teammates still downstairs, and every single student rose from their seat to greet me. “Good afternoon,” they said, and I wished I could visit a thousand more schools just like this one.