I went visiting Raja Azam Khan's family last Sunday.. when the Raja asked me about progress on the garden I told him where I was at ….how i have been meeting resistance from the principal, in wanting to involve and include the entire school community's participation. Particularly the parents and the children themselves. He picked the phone, called the principal and asked for a meeting with all concerned in three days. A printed hand delivered invitation for said meeting was sent out promptly by the principal to the board and PTA members, including myself.. still resisting inviting all the parents, choosing instead to have the PTA members tell the rest what my work is all about and what I expect from the community. He had argued forcefully with me a few weeks earlier that it was my job to invite whoever I wished and tell them about my work, the garden had nothing to do with his job to teach and to run a school…so having relented and sent the invite himself was a compromise I was happy with.
On July 12, one board member Haji Fida Ali, and two PTA members showed up along with Raja Azam Khan himself, who is a trustee. A teacher or two floated in and out – I had wanted them all present, including all the children. Specially since I had requested the art and language teachers to have all their classes draw pictures of their dream school garden as well as write a paragraph about any garden related topic including poems as part of the final term exams which were going on last week. Some classes did the work others didn't bother or weren't made to. I'd gone through almost 40 drawings and created a master wish list.. one poem and one short essay was also submitted, both extremely well written. I'd made a poster with three of the best drawings, taped this large poster as well as the interns laminated plan drawing on two poster boards and had them placed in the meeting room. I wanted the children to talk about their ideas and the two students read their poem and essay to the audience….give them a prize each (id wrapped a pen set for the essay writer and a new fancy dupatta along with a packet of nasturtium seeds for each) all in an attempt to bring this future garden into the classroom, and be able to explain its importance without a whole lot of e
xplanations to everyone present – particularly the reluctant principal.