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Walchandnagar Day 1!

Today was our first day of camp at Walchandnagar! It was interesting how the staff insisted that we take bus to and back from school even though it is only a 10 min walk there. When we got to the school, we received the warmest welcome! The students lined up in 2 rows in front of the school and gave us flowers as we walked in. As we walked in to the school front yard, the clapping continued and all the teachers were taking pictures! We felt like a bunch of celebrities J We were invited to the library first where we met all the teachers and introduced ourselves. Then, we went into one of the classrooms and met the kids. They were all extremely polite and listened so well for what we had to say. We were very impressed!

The first activity we did at camp was How Rubber Meets the Road and it was led by me and Rowena. I was a little nervous because although I was really confident with the outreach material, I didn’t know how the classrooms were going to be set up nor the students that are participating the camp. But everything went really well! We purposefully picked out an easy activity to start the week with but the students were really engaged and got extremely competitive (they kept asking how the other groups were doing haha)! Afterwards, we led the activity “Effective Communication” where the students had to draw something and then describe it in words with different limitations to their partner for them to recreate the picture. This activity was relatively low-key as well and it was nice that we finished early and had some time to just hangout and chat with the students in the classrooms that my team was in charge of. They asked us a lot of questions such as what we study in school, what was elementary and middle school like in the States, what our daily routine was like… I could feel that at the end of the day the students really warmed up to us and I’m excited to work with them again tomorrow!

After we took a break back at the guest house for lunch, we went back to the school again for teacher interactions. Today’s topic was religions in India. One of the teachers there gave a presentation about an overview of all the different religions that are practiced in India, different temples/places for prayer, and also the founder & overarching beliefs of each religion. From there, we just had an open discussion around religion. The discussion was mostly focused on the personal laws in India to support different religion beliefs and also the ideology of “No Harm” or “Ahimsa”. I really appreciated that the teachers went out of their way and showed us in depth of the different religions and the approach that India is taking to keep all of them in harmony, even though it is not what they teach at school. The conversation was eventually navigated by the teachers to the US elections right now. They are so curious about it! We did our best to give everyone a simple and objective summary of everything that is going on.

After teacher interactions, we went back to the guest house again. Two hours after we got back it started thunder storming! Everyone got so excited because it has been so dry and hot lately and the rain felt so good. Some of us went out to the balcony and had a dance party. It was such a blast! Unfortunately, the thunder storm also cut off the power so we had our dinner in candle and cell-phone light. We realized that the chefs have been slowing increasing the intenseness of the spice in the dishes and we are excited to see how much spice we will be able to handle at the end of the week.

I am going to end the blog here and go to bed now because tomorrow we have to wake up early to learn Yoga. I can’t wait! : ))

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