Wanted volunteers - saturday morning -

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Ramnagara school trip

Thorns made red by bleeding hearts.

Well, if not a bleeding heart, I indeed was in a quandary. Chalghatta school - 200 kids - never been on a school trip - wow! lets take them out - but how ??

The logistics was turning into a nightmare. A bus can take 50-60 kids, a long journey makes it 9k/bus, and entry fees. And, food expenses. Mysore beckoned, but entry fees & quite long a journey. Same tale with Shravanabelogala-Tallakad-Bellur circuit.


My morning run ---> solution thrashed. Check with Sunand. 'Yes! we will do it', he says. Bliss.

Funda: Thorns are mostly in our imagination, as in the pic above. The locust intimidates other predators with it thorn like legs.

And, so on a saturday morning 9th of Dec 06. All the 6th & 7th std kids were taken on a outing. The 5th std kids from Chalghatta, along with 3rd to 5th from the Bellur school will be taken to Fun-world sometime in Jan. An elaborate pooja for the bus, seemed to satisfy the bus driver. He had cribbed heavily that only 46 passengers are allowed, and we were 66 kids, 8 teacher staff, & 6 volunteers!!!
And soon, Sunand & Shweta got some major Anthakshari going in the bus. Latest Kannada songs from FM 137.66
Ramnagara was the destination. A rock-climbers paradise. A quite place, with vultures above ur head, place to be. We wanted to introduce the kids to trekking and rock-climbing.
And soon, after breakfast, Sunand launched onto what trekking is....rock climbing is......the equipment used...how you need to be.....water bottles.....discipline....etc etc. At the end of the briefing, a boy promptly fainted!!!!
And soon, the 66 kids were divided into groups with volunteers Leena, Chetna, Shweta & Navrathan leading them. Sunand & Mallesh were the rock-climbing experts and leading the trek/climb. The teachers, esp the school HM Mary had a tough time in the small trek. She kept saying 'Since when have you been scheming this on me'...she struggled.....the kids literally ran.....and after some time 2 kids came back to help their HM!!!

Soon, we reached the base of Ramdevar betta. The joy here is the natural slide thats on this rock....the kids went up & slid down merrily.

We climbed up the hill, pitched in the equipment, and introduced rappling.
And after swift instructions from Mallesh & Sunand, the kids rappled down. It was a good test of their confidence, courage and trust.

Soon boyz & girls clamoured to get down. A few kept away, having a single rappling rope was becoming a botlle-neck. Shwetha took upon securing the harness & gloves.


By 5pm, we had finished with the last rappling kid, and went down for lunch. A good number of the kids had rappled down. The plan was also to visit Kokrebellur, some museum at chanpatna, and Rajarajeshwari temple. But, with rappling taking all the time we ditched it.
The school had raised Rs 2300 from the kids 50Rs each, from all those, who could pay. They covered food charges and also bought some canvas shoes for those needing it. Transport charges was covered by DSF. Rock climbing charges raised from volunteers.
The way back, the back benchers started with some major Ayyappa bajans, and soon being tired gave up and slept. It was 8:40pm, when the bus reached the school. Sunand wanted me to 'de-brief' the kids. And so, for the 66 kids seated in a corridor, that glowed in a yellow light lamp, for those who rappled, and those who didn't, with some of their parents watching, I spoke of 'Why adventure'....'Why push the body'...'Striving beyond the limits'...'Marathon running'.....'Rock climbing'....'Their exams'.....'their studies'.....'little more marks' The kids starred back sleepily, and their parents were quite.
Well, we managed to pull thru this outing safely. And, the kids enjoyed it. A new experience.
A zillion thanks to my buddy & Man Friday (Man Saturday ?) Sunand, who made this happen.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Raja Majaa - Part II

This time the children are going on Christmas vacation starting 23rd Dec.. But Mrs. Mary said that the Challaghatta school children for 6th and 7th standard will be studying through the vacation - extra classes for them..

School reopens on 2nd Jan...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

raja majaa :)

After a looong time got a chance to feel that happiness again when Akash gave the
news that schools will be closed starting from 23rd to 2nd October. :)

Yes I'm back to school, but only for one day in a week. I teach Hindi (rather learning Hindi with the kids) for 7th class. It happens every Saturday for 1 or 2 hours (duration depends on the kids capacity to bear their 'Hindi Miss'). The experience is soooo good. First I thought it will be difficult to make time every Saturday but once you start, the time manages for itself. As in my case, i started and started liking it and now I cann't miss it. Suddenly I have started feeling good about myself feel a sense of responsibility when the kids call me miss :)

So, for sure the kids will be busy enjoying their vacation... and their Hindi miss is really going to miss them for 2 Saturdays :(... let me plan something, I'm in the mood of vacation ;)

Wish me happy holidays...

Friday, September 01, 2006

First experience at teaching

My first day at the school was pretty confusing & also extremely memorable.. I didnt know what to expect, and I guess the kids were finding my Kannada funny (I dont speak very good Kannada :p)

But once I started teaching them the English alphabet, the kids were so keen to have me teach them that even those whom Akash was teaching (those of them who were familiar with A-B-C) started pretending that they dont know the A-B-C.. :)

Most of the children were extremely concerned about me. So, they got me a chair to sit on, and then when I sat on the floor, they kept warning me that i was not sitting on the mat and my clothes may get dirty!! I guess this is what touches the heart......

When I go now, they still find my Kannada funny, but I guess now they understand better what Im trying to say and its fun teaching. These are the best two hours of my week.. :)

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Perot, chalghatta & mummies

Chalghatta school, a nice looking govt. primary school with a small ground interspersed with Ashoka trees. The kids run around like prince/princess. They really own this school. 200 kids, make such ruckus, that some new volunteers go back home to terrible headaches (seriously, ask Leena).

The school has a fundu HM Mrs Mary Angela (left most), a superb PR person. And, another teacher Bhuvaneshwari, whoz fast becoming my favourite (rightmost lady). Bhuvaneshwari is real good at culturals, no wonder, we had so many children vying to sing/dance & perform.

Ha...oh..3 similar shots....lots of back light, so only this angle permitted decent shots. Hey, who are these lovely ladies ??? They are singing 'Hum honge kamyaab ek din'......well, Ladies & Gentlemen, Sep 2nd 06, over 20 employees from Perot systems dropped into interact with our kids. To keep matters simple, the 1st to 5th kids were let off at their usual closing time, and we continued interacting with the 6th & 7th. Amit, hardcore DSF volunteer, also happens to be a Perot, and so it worked cool for both parties ;-)

Event A was collage making. 8 teams with volunteers thrown in, and 30 minutes. The teams took on this with all seriousness, with volunteers majorly guiding them. And, soon we saw some lovely stuff.

Event B was to mummify.....yeah...seriously, take a kid and mummify....for bizzare reasons only girls got choosen....and boy...it turned out to be real fun.

My favourite shot of the day.

The kids were all real excited by now....and the volunteers strongly identified themselves with their teams & kids. I guess, the event had achieved its purpose.

Yes, kids got a double-decker box with pencils/scale etc and some nice snacks/Icecream.

Perot systems is also sponsoring a LifeSkills session here at the school for the 6th/7th on weekdays, conducted by Mrs Sadhna. A nice corporate-NGO partnership.

We still need people for the bread & butter stuff, my kids are pathetic when it comes to reading English. And Math ? not far either. So, if volunteering & making a difference at the primary level appeals to you, join us.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Chinnarangala 4,5,6

Action continues. The children still come to school. They run around.... fight majorly....play or climb trees...... and when tired stop, sit, listen to the teacher - write/paint. Thats children, at their very best!

With each passing saturday, I take out my camera less often. The kids & their actions are no more novelties ;-))

We have had good support from other groups.

Firstly, it was the Reuters gang...they came...they saw...they played.....and left behind a lot of crayons/books/stationaries and hazzar clothes for the kids. This coupled with the cloth collection, we had from other donors was distributed 2 weeks back. Except for a few kids, almost everybody got 1/2 clothes. Somehow, more of girl clothes than boyz.

TI had a cloth drive as part of their Annual day. And, pushed them to us. Here, we had clothes of all ages, and in the children category have ended up with clothes for very young girls & babies.

Then entered FSL India, and after a good look-around, they were clear 'bout what to do....A medical camp.....and a day of funNGames.

So, last saturday was medical camp. Dr Anand lead. It was over 40 kids I think.....most of them very diagnoised with some hygine related disorders. Each kid a toothbrush/paste/soap and some multi-vitamin tablets.....to be given along with their lunch at school........and ofcourse, the prescribed medicine. Lotz of very young girls were crying & totally uncomfortable in seeing a doctor. My job was to talk to them...get their names....and their ages....had to guess majorly......and their sex....had some problems with a young children with long hair. You think...itz a girl...until they announce their names.....and you look startled......then ask the surrounding kids...'Hey, is this a boy!'...YES, they declare....I take their word. The camp went eventless until a 4 year old girl slapped me for pestering for her name!!! The other volunteers took the weight, height, pulse & temperature. And, the doctor, who was very enthusiastic checked them up. Lot of Telugu speaking kids....so he needed the teacher to translate. Pretty good medical camp. The doc's came back after a few days with the prescribed medicine & passed them on with neccessary instructions.

And that afternoon, we had one of our expert volunteer joinig us. Meet Mr. Chaitanya, a 12th std student, he was keen on having some drawing/painting for children. Charcoal painting. And, off kids went in drawing a house, trees, clouds etc. And, then using charcoal on it. I had never seen such stuff before. The kids got going.....once they get in...itz tough to stop them.....they draw...they paint/color....and then most of them get so carried away they color/draw all over the place ;-)

Today...the FSL gang came carrying in lot of things.....a crayon box/pencil/drawing book for each kid. And, 2 footballs......and hold ur breath....2 cricket bats...stumps...3 tennis balls.....the kids were overjoyed.....they have been pestering me for cricket bats for weeks now.....I had been evasive.....now they were maha-thrilled. They somehow think I am behind it ;-))

So, we started with the painting session....the kids soon settled down to it....and furiously got going.....they crayoned colorfully. Some of the volunteers drew pictures/scenes for them to color up. And, met up with Pooja....a volunteer with FSL...a 2nd year BBM student......she zapped me with her push....asking those searching/uncomfortable questions. She wanted that proactive approach. And, as we parted, she said 'Once, you come to volunteer, you should not stand and laze around......start doing things'......wow! thats volunteerism for me ;-)

Yes...we got the kids to kick the football......the kids chased the ball like mad.

Guyz...thats how Chinnarangalla is progressing, we are seeing a good turn out, after 6 weeks too. And, hope to get them to continue with the regular school. We have a couple of saturdays to go, interested, join us.