On each of my three visits to the Kannivadi Bethania Home, I was given a narrated tour of what I began to think of as the Bethania Hall of Fame. In reality, it was a small office with cement floors and a single computer, where I presumed that the daily business for running the home took place. For the kids, however, that room might as well have been carpeted in lush, deep red and illuminated with soft lights shining on the walls.
It was for the purpose of seeing these walls that I was pulled into that small office at some point in each of my visits. Three of the four walls contained neat rows of letter-sized sheets of paper. On two walls, each paper contained the picture of one of the children currently living at Kannivadi, along with his or her basic information – name, birthday, hometown, interests, and future goals. The kids showed me each of these simple profiles, blushing when we’d come to their own. There was a lot of running around the room as they showed me sibling connections and I tried to keep it all straight.
The most exciting wall was the third one – the wall containing the profiles of Bethania’s graduates. Here were pictures and names of individuals who had started out as young girls and boys at Bethania, finding hope and joy just as the kids around me were discovering. They too had studied diligently in school with dreams of one day gaining training in their desired profession. Now, my self-appointed tour guides enthusiastically reported the achievements of each of these girls and boys, who had now become skilled women and men. Some are in nursing school, some are being trained to work with computers, and others are studying hotel management. “Look sister, my brother. He now study in university!”
With each report of a graduate’s accomplishments, I began to grasp the importance of this room. It represented hope and possibility for each of the kids around me. It served as a very personal reminder that their dreams could actually become a reality. The impossible had happened for this wall of graduates; perhaps it could happen for the other two walls of hopeful children as well.
And so with each visit, I grew to appreciate that guided tour of the Bethania Hall of Fame more and more. I look forward to the day when all my little tour guides will be up on the graduates’ wall as well. They’ll join their elder heroes to inspire a new group of enthusiastic children to work hard and follow their dreams.