At the very end of the Summer Term 18 students travelled to Bangalore, India to take part in a joint project with a local school based in the north of the city. In recent years the school has been forging ever closer links with one of the Parikrma Foundation schools and at last we had the opportunity to meet in person.
The joint project had been facilitated by an organisation called Sangam and from the moment our students met with their opposite numbers from Parikrma it was obvious there was going to be a fantastic relationship between the sets of students. Over the next few days they worked together on a Drama/Dance production, which was to be performed to the whole school. Our students were certainly out of their comfort zone but the Parikrma students were able to lead the way with their amazing dancing skills. As well as the production we spent time at the school learning the art of henna tattooing, pot painting and even took part in a Bollywood dance masterclass from a professional dancer.
After five days at the school we headed out of Bangalore on the train to visit a small village on our way to Mysore. We gave up our pre-reserved booking to travel third class and get a taste of what Indian train travel can be like; some were upset that they didn’t get to travel on the roof – maybe next time!. From Mysore we travelled up into the forests and coffee plantations around Coorg in the Western Ghats – this was quite a challenging journey involving jeep rides to our home stay, a walk in the forest and a few leech, frog, lizard and moth incidents – nothing a Habs girl can’t handle! And then there was the rain…
Our journey back to Bangalore involved lunch with Tibetan Monks, visits to temples, a climb up the Nandi Hills and, of course, a trip to the shops.
Our last day was spent back at the school and there were fond farewells and quite a few tears when we said goodbye.
It was agreed by everyone that it was certainly the trip of a lifetime and a chance for the students to get under the skin of this fascinating country. The local connections made, being off the tourist trail and the interaction with the Parikrma students made for a very special experience.
Thanks to Sangam Projects for their superb organisation, to Mr Turner, Mrs Ghinn and Miss Turner for giving up part of their Summer Vacation and, of course, to all our friends at Parikrma!