December 11

Dear Diary,
The education center is an old building run by a woman named Mrs. Mishra. There are three classrooms, two inside and one outside. Well, I say outside but it has walls, only no roof. The students sit on the floors in all the classes and do their work. The center puts rugs or blankets over the floors to make sitting a little more comfortable. There are curtains hanging from poles in the classrooms, and on these are pinned letters and pictures to help with reading. The walls have drawings done by younger students. My class has both children and adults in it, though more boys than girls. That makes me sad. Mrs. Mishra asked how serious I was about learning. She said that Assam's dropout rate for girls in primary school is 42%, and as much as 75% in middle and high schools! I told her that I think this is a big problem and needs to be changed, which is why I was at the center. I let her know I was very serious because I need to know how to raise ducks and help my family.

My teacher is Mr. Santanu Gupta. He is from Dibrugarh and can speak both Assamese and English. He let me sit in the class and then talked to me after it was over.

"Nahji," he said, "You are smart enough, you just need more training. Mrs. Mishra says you want to be a serious student. If that is true, I will help you all I can."

And he gave me a book full of words and pictures to start my reading lessons. I was so happy inside! I came home and hugged Mutka and told her all about it.

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