A chill breeze reminds people the turning of the season. Soon this part of Tibet will start to receive its regular snowfalls. A row of adobe houses amidst rolling green hills serves as the entire school facility for the local kids. Nothing about the morning suggests anything different about the day.
The sound of the school bell cracks the morning tranquility and sends little kids racing towards those adobe houses. The teacher cups hands against his mouth to keep them warm before walking down the aisles to collect homework. The aged wooden floor sends out squeaking sounds as rusted nails give way to loosen pieces of woods against the teacher’s weight. The floor even squeaks at the weight of a child. Everything at the school indicates decades of regular use with little maintenance.
A gentle breeze sends the door ajar and the teacher goes on collecting homework. He stops by the desk of a little girl, who doesn’t have anything to turn in this particular morning. Students often receive punishment for not doing their homework. She rose, barely visible behind the desk, and pressed her hands by the sides. The teacher waits for an answer, and she has none. She drops her head and tears well up in her eyes. The teacher leads her to the front of the classroom. As he reaches to a ruler, which he often uses to beat students’ palms for making mischief or failing to turn in their homework, a little boy makes his way to the front. He stops right by the little girl and lifts up a notebook without looking at the teacher.
“Here is my sis’s homework,” says the little boy.
“Why is it with you then?” asks the teacher as he examines the dog-eared notebook.
The morning resumes its absolute tranquility for a few minutes before the teacher asks where the little boy’s homework is. The room fell silent again. The little boy stared at the floor and ready to accept the punishment.
With a closer look, the teacher noticed a wet spot on the back of the notebook where the student’s name was. The little boy has tried to rub off his name and turn in the homework as his baby sister’s. He was ready to accept the beat on his baby sister’s behalf.