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“Mala BCA madhe yeun khup chhan watale”

Today was the first day of camp. We traveled by van from the bungalow to BCA. We exited the van to the warmest of welcomes. The students lined the entrance and courtyard of the school and clapped us in, handing each of us a flower.

Our group at the front gate of the school where they decorated it beautifully to welcome us

The Rangoli artwork that welcomed us to the entrance of the school-- completely drawn in sand (took them about an hour to complete)

Today’s engineering activity was the classic egg drop challenge, in which the students must protect an egg from a one-story drop. Ecstatic shouts filled the courtyard when the eggs did not crack. After this activity, the students had a lunch break. I enjoyed sitting in large circles with the students and getting to know them better. The afternoon activity sessions generally focus on English communication and today’s activity was to give a business (or “elevator”) pitch. I enjoyed learning more about the interests and hobbies of the students through their pitches.

After the students left, we met with the teachers for our afternoon teacher interaction sessions. We learned about five major religions in India: Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Islam, and Sikhism. After the presentation, we broke into groups with the teachers and learned language spoken in the state of Maharashtra (in which Walchandnagar lies): Marathi. I learned common greetings and how to introduce myself. I also requested another phrase: “Mala BCA madhe yeun khup chhan watale,” or “I am enjoying my time at BCA very much.” I couldn’t think of a truer phrase.

With a group of teachers during the Marathi-learning session.

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