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Father and son share a life at Woodstock
One of Woodstock's most popular employees, "Uncle Jyoti", retired this February. Jyoti Emmanuel is from Sagar, near Ujjain in Madhya Pradesh. His smile and jaunty walk are well known all over the hillside. "Ask Jyoti to come by with a message," people say in the bazaar.
Jyoti loves watching movies. His favorite book is the Bible. His faith is strong and very apparent when he talks about his life. "The Lord saved me when I was fifteen days old, when my uncle left me at the Mission." says Jyoti. A British nurse, Miss W. M. Good, took care of the little baby, eventually adopting him. His mother worked at Sagar and Jaunpur. She is 89 now and has lived with Jyoti in Mussoorie for the last 27 years.
Jyoti's first job was at the University in Sagar, just after it opened, when he had finished eighth grade at school. He moved to Benaras to become an apprentice carpenter. In the two years he was there he learned to drive as well. When he moved to Jaunpur, he got a job as a driver in the Jaunpur Mission Dispensary.
Jyoti married his wife Asha in Kanpur. They came to Mussoorie in 1971. Before he got a job at the school, Jyoti did odd jobs for Woodstock, travelling to Calcutta, Bombay and Nepal with shipments. Then he started working at the accounts office as a chaprasi and driver. He handled post, errands at the bank and went down to the bazaar. Asha was an ayah in the dorms for twelve years and worked at the school dispensary.
They have three sons -- Rufus and the twins, Peter and John. Rufus and Peter are teachers, while John is a businessman in Delhi. " With God's blessing I was able to send my sons to school at Wynberg Allen from kindergarten to the twelfth grade."
What does the future hold for Jyoti? What does he want to do now? "Mummy ki seva," he remarks, "I would like to look after my mother."
Jyoti's oldest son, Rufus Emmanuel, inherited his father's buoyant, cheerful nature. Rufus went to college in Lucknow for his bachelors degree. He was a dorm parent for eight years before he started teaching at Woodstock. He took two years off recently to go to Bethel College in Kansas, aided by funds from KWI and the school. The time away from Mussoorie gave him an opportunity to reflect about life. Faith in God was a great asset when he was having problems getting used to American culture. "Knowing about a culture is very different from being there in it." Rufus lived with a Woodstock family and attended a small Mennonite church there. He thought about what his father had taught him: integrity, hard work and service -- no matter what you do.
"To put us through a system the way they did, my parents had to go without a lot [To page 4] things they wanted."
Rufus was a non-traditional student, older than most of the others in his class. "In the States I realized how little I knew. I had to take help from younger students. The first six months were awful. Then I adjusted."
Rufus did his student teaching at a public school in Newton, Kansas. His students were in grade 5. "They were bigger than our students, facing problems, I don It think any of us will face. I ended up teaching more than just math," says Rufus.
He faced another adjustment period when he returned. "When I came back, many things had changed. I had changed. Not being in the dorms was different, but a good homeroom compensated for that. I am very attached to my students.
"It was like I was starting afresh, because lots of people had gone. And the people I knew seemed different. Finding my bearings again, finding a niche was tough."
Rufus really enjoyed dorm parenting, but finds new challenges in teaching. "In India, working in dorms is generally looked down upon as a job people that can do nothing else do. Personally, I found dorm parenting to be the most rewarding service one can do, not a job," says Rufus.
"Teaching really gives me different opportunities; it's more consciously focussed. You have to keep to a schedule always. My father taught me to put my heart and mind in things to the best of my ability. No matter what you do, he would say, even if it is sweeping the floor, make sure it is swept the best." -- AG
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