Thursday, 15 August 2013

Happy Independence Day!

Today, India celebrates its 67th Independence Day and we were invited to join two wonderful celebrations!

In the morning we visited our Essar project colleages and saw some amazing performances. We were warmly welcomed and even officially greeted by our hosts and then the day started with the flag raising ceremony, where rose petals appeared as the Indian flag was raised to the National anthem. Wow!

The event was then followed by some great performances of the Essar school (which e.g. included karate, judo, songs, poems and Gujarati dances) and you could clearly see how proud the children were of their school and community!

A personal favourite for me was the performance of the security dog squad - very impressive and I'd not suggest for anyone to try and mess with them...!

Here's a picture of us with the team just before we headed for some nice chai.

After a quick shopping trip to the local mall (which is much more structured than the in-town supermarket), we headed back to the hotel and (via an actually quite nice riksha-ride - I must be getting used to this...) to the Independence Day celebrations of the "Happy Children Centre" in one of the towns slums.

Our riksha driver also revealed a "secret weapon" during the trip and treated us to some (one-channel only) in-riska entertainment of which I captured a little video - hope you enjoy it!

 The celebrations in the Happy Children centre were very different to the ones we'd seen in the morning but equally fascinating. Almost 100 children meet in one classroom after school each day- to catch up and get some additional training through fun learning activities.

For today the children had studied for almost 2 months to learn songs and dances and performed them in front of us and their peers to great cheers and applause:

  The energy in the room was contagious and after two hours we all left with some big smiles on our faces (which quickly vanished after we saw the state our shoes were in - which we had left outside the classroom in a 2-hour monsoon shower on a muddy path.... not a great idea...)

What an amazing day though and we feel priviledged to have been able to share these celebrations with our project partners!

I'm also able to report that I must be starting to "fit in" as the local mosquitos - who so far had not touched me - seem to find me quite tasty all of a sudden... (or they have discovered their taste for English breakfast... ;-) If I get my revenge though, they will not only get my blood but also the stomach bug I managed to catch yesterday. Watch out for some petitions to the Jamnagar mosquito union requesting loads of toilet paper and banning foreigners... :-)

Will post again shortly but will take a rest now as tomorrow is another early start and we have a lot to do - we'll be visiting 3 of the 16 local governement schools and want to make sure we capture as much information on how they teach English (and what they think could be done to improve this) as possible.

Good night & goodbye!

P.S.: Irish Water support services team - am thinking of you tomorrow for your big deliverables and hope all will go well! Hang in there - you can do it!

1 comment:

  1. Hi Nina - GREAT pictures and I really enjoy the narrative. Poor you though, having become a tasty morsel for the local mosquitoes, whilst also acquiring a stomach "nasty"! I hope the latter doesn't debilitate you too much...especially now that the project has kicked off in earnest. Q: Are you able to get hold of any marmite or equivalent - as some people who eat marmite regularly claim that acts as an insect deterrent.... but I have NO idea how?!!