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“Practice Yoga and You Will Always Be Fresh”

Our second day at BCA started early with a traditional yoga session taught by an instructor, called Yoga Sir, at sunrise. This type of yoga was much more spiritual-based than the Americanized version many have come to know. Instead of bending every which way, this yoga centered around different breathing techniques and meditation chants, called pranayams. Even though we remained sitting for the entire session, I still felt like I had done a mild workout by the time we were done! Listening to Hindi prayers with the sun rising on our shoulders was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life, and was probably the most connected I have felt to India during the trip! However, Yoga Sir’s comments on how yoga can cure any disease (including pink eye, intestinal problems, graying hair, and cancer) definitely added to the moment.

The guest house that SWE Overseas group has the luxury of staying in

After finishing yoga and grabbing some breakfast, we returned to the school to start our Rube Goldberg and Lego Mindstorm activities with the children! I worked with the Lego Mindstorm robotics activity, and it was interesting to say the least. The initial idea was that we would have students construct their own robot out of Legos and develop a program on the Mindstorm software that could be downloaded and executed by the robot. However, we had issues in the beginning with downloading the program software onto BCA’s computers and it left many students unable to download their code to their robot. While some of the teachers and students were a little disappointed that they couldn’t have their own robot execute their code, in the end they were all very pleased that their robots appeared to be functional. We decided we would supplement by letting the kids program robots again on Friday after we worked out the kinks with BCA’s computers!

Our group member, Madi, teaching the students how to code with Lego Mindstorms

After the activities concluded, we asked the if the female students could stay behind to have a bonus discussion about the Society of Women Engineers, but also to talk a little about female empowerment in an Indian society. This was another favorite of the day, because I felt that I got to know some of the students on a much more personal level. Aparna and I facilitated a discussion with about seven girls, where we guided the flow of conversation by following a card game that asked players to describe instances such as where they felt happy and strong, who they most admire, or what advice they would give their younger self. These students touched me with their responses, often speaking about personal accounts of success in their academic or family life, and their curiousness towards our lives in America. I hope that our conversations with them will help increase their interest in the summer camp, as well as in life later on!

Aparna and Betsy with their group of girls at our bonus session discussing the importance of equal opportunity for both males and females

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