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Warwick Uni students in Bhuj

Here is their first blog and thoughts from their visit to our school for the naturally challenged in Madhapar, Bhuj.

 

By Harry Bignell

Day 3 of the Warwick Bhuj Project also marks day 1 of the teams’ attempt to lead lessons in the school, prime time to begin blogging.

So far the trip has been filled with trepidation, assaults on various members digestive systems and so much sweat I genuinely believe that, through evaporating sweat, the Bhuj team could be solely responsible for the next bout of torrential “monsoon” rain.

It has also been abundant in amazing interactions, loads of laughs and one of the most gratifying experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to haveand it’s only the third day!

Excuse my hyperbolic turn of phrase, I’m aware that everyone who goes somewhere “exotic” comes back claiming it was the most amazing experience, afforded them a new outlook on life and go on to treat those around them or reading their Facebook feed with pitying condescension, “everyone haaaaaas to go to Thailand, I lived with a hermit who taught me that pulses have feelings…”

I’ll try not to be “that person” but seriously, this trip is awesome.

Over the first few days we’ve visited a school based upon life orientated learning, driven down the wrong way of something professing to be a motorway (never seen traffic stop on the M5 for jay-walking cattle) in a school bus that should be fossilisedby now and experienced the reverence of being one of a handful of people to walk round a small temple.

Today the trip took another step as we all embarked upon carefully conceived lessons which, for the most part, gave us all a lesson in improvisation.

I cannot speak for the group in this instance so will merely do my best to put my own experience into words.

I began the morning with Snehin in a class of about 12 boys (some kept sneaking in and getting sent away) of mixed disabilities.

After getting over the initial terror of entering the classroom with only “what is your name” mumbled in cringing Gujarati to support me, I looked around the sea of smiles and intent eyes that had gathered around us and realised that I can do thisbecause the kids are going to help me do this.

We went around the class writing each child’s name on the blackboard in English and Gujarati and then proceeded with the early part of the lesson which consisted in learning the English for days of the week.

The kids were fun but attentive, cheeky but keen to learn and over the few hours we spent with them they managed to convey how much they appreciated us being there; a word of commendation was enough to produce a beaming smile from even the shyest child, in this instance a boy who couldn’t speak Gujarati and hence I felt a sympathetic affinity with!

The most gratifying moment of all, however, was when the kids were colouring in pictures I’d drawn for them and I saw that two kids had written my name to colour in for themselves; my friends and family will tell you that I’m not usually soppy over kids but this made me want to cry more than The Notebook did.

The girls school after lunch was far more challenging, the classes were larger, abilities more mixed and disabilities far more prominent.

We realised quickly that the key was attention, each child wasclamouring for it and in a class that large a single teacher couldn’t give it to them individually, fortunately we could.

By the end of our session the girls had drawn and coloured a multitude of pictures, recapped their knowledge of several English words and taught us the alphabet and days of the week in sign language.

Late afternoon was spent reaching new levels of sweatinessplaying cricket and some weird cricket/volleyball hybrid with the boys.

All in all, it’s been an incredible start to our time here and I cannot urge you more desperately to donate via the following link to this incredible cause and enable these children to keep living the life made possible by your contributions.

Read more on their blog  or Facebook

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