Monday, June 16, 2008

Our first day!

Wow! I can’t believe we’re actually here—it’s so surreal! The flight in was great. Around 12:30 we landed in Mumbai. I think the entire landing, Tessa and I had our faces pressed against a window trying to take it all in. We just kept looking at each other with dropped jaws, laughing or staring and saying “Oh my gosh, we’re on the other side of the world. Literally, on the other side of the world!”
When we got out of the airport there were stray dogs and tons of people and rickshaws and busses and cars and craziness. We were all so off, but the bus ride into Vikhroli was unforgettable. We were all crammed into the bus with our luggage, staring out the window and sweating a lot (it’s so hot!). There were people sleeping on top of busses and closed down shops and slums and skyscrapers. We got to Godrej around 2:30 and our roommates were waiting inside!
Everyone met each other, and then unpacked a bit. Then we went to Tessa and Saloni’s room and taught all the Udayachal kids how to play spoons. Zahra, Tessa, Piyush, Dominic, Amu, Neha, Saloni, Aditya (from Udayachal), Celia, Karthik, Anabel, and I played (Aditya from PA and Scogs were asleep). We came across tons of cockroaches and lizards, took loads of photos and videos, gave the Udayachal kids their first Cheez Its—it was a blast! Even though we’ve been here for less than 24 hours, I feel like everyone’s bonded so much. We all get along so well, and all the Udayachal students are incredibly welcoming.
They brought us to their school and we tried Indian “junk food” at the local store, nearly got killed crossing the street, went through orientation, and celebrated Tessa’s 19th birthday. It’s so amazing to be here! So much is different—the sky is infinitely bigger, it makes you feel so small. The trees are different, the clothes are different, and the smells and sounds are different. But we are so similar to the Udayachal students. Some of us were up talking until 6:30 and we have so much in common. It’s already been a blast, and I know these next three weeks will continue to get better!
Shubhretri (goodnight!)

After a long summer vacations of April and May (they were not boring at all) all the six of us were simply thrilled about our Niswarth programme. We came together at 9 p.m. on the evening of 15th of June to welcome our new American friends. Atlast after a Portugal and Switzerland match, finally the group from Andover arrived. All through out we were full of anxiety and anticipation thinking about the days which we were going to pass. One by one all of them stepped out and we got to know each others names, although we couldn’t remember them at the first instance! We were prepared for Tessa’s Birthday too and wished her as soon as she came.!
Later we went to our rooms to keep our bags. Personally, I thought that the P.A. students will e dead tired after a long flight but then they were as much excited as we were. So we were awake for another 2 or 2 and a half hrs playing spoons and clicking photographs. The American students found the roaches and lizards something very new and different because hey had never experienced to live with them before! S for us Udayachalites, it was nothing new, rather we found if quite funny and hilarious and were surprised to see their reactions!!
The very next morning after breakfast, we had a walk to the sunrise hall where we got to know each other’s name through an interesting game called Zap! That was really good fun !! we had a little discussion on our topic of context-Urban Development and then were off for lunch1
Later that afternoon we celebrated Tessa’s Birthday. She cut the cake we presented her gift that she loved and then all of us relished the cake. Soon we took the P.A. students to our school and showed them our campus.. a little snack bite on the way back and then we were in our rooms again.
Niswaarth for me is going to be a very new experience because I am going to be with people with whom I have never been before and also work with new children. Learning through experience is the best way I think a person can learn new things. I am really looking forward for a great time here and will be glad to share my experiences with my family and friends when I go back!!!!
-Aditya Bajaj

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