Workshops in Udaipur Villages

Posted by / March 26, 2011 / Categories: India 2011 Peace Exchange / 0 Comments
After a sweet warm up and ‘let’s get comfortable’ workshop with 25 local kids in Udaipur, we arose at the crack of dawn, packed into a small four seater:  me, heather, Rama our film maker friend, and Shailendra, our Pratham lead, and headed out 50 km to a town called Jhadrol.  I like to call it “JAH ROLL” in my head as we moved rocking and rolling into the rural extreme outside Udaipur. Driving through a vast and expansive Rajastani outback, villages interspersed between large patches of barrenness where sparse tree cover amidst brown and lots of rocks made up the rolling hillsides. Two hours plus later we arrived in Jhadrol where to our surprise, Ravi, another Pratham coordinator got in the car.  Thankfully Indians know how to ride in groups, and he joined Shailendra in the front seat.   The two of them quickly explained how folks from the village commute every day those 50km into Udaipur packed like sardines….and sure enough a four door jeep rolls by with a minimum of 25 people inside and another 3 or 4 on the roof.  Typical buses are standing room only with rooftops covered and people hanging on the back.  They have to pay to.  Ain’t no free ride in Rajasthan. Another hour later, way out in the middle of nowhere we arrived at our first school.   I was a little nervous.  I didn’t know what to expect, how many kids we were working with, how the translation was going to go, and the mind naturally moves into making sense of this new location. We were warmly received and the school was clearly prepared for our arrival, a quality I was soon to discover common with these Pratham connected schools.   In most government schools, which these were, the classrooms were typically laid out in long rectangular blocks, with a large open stone/cement patio-deck connecting them; a perfect space for large groups of kids to gather.   Shailendra and I had about a 3 minute pow-wow on how I thought things would go, in preparation for him to translate and explain the project to these kids I was instructed to set up near the far end and as I moved my bags of arts supplies and postcards towards the table and chairs there, the students quietly and calmly positioned themselves on the floor before me.   As I pulled supplies and materials from my bag, I looked up to see more than 150 students ages 10 – 15 seated before me. The wise elder, slightly orange dyed long-haired, Class 8 teacher welcomed me and quickly addressed the students to be on their best behavior and pay attention (my interpretation) He was a huge boost to this workshops as he was all smiles of encouragement and support to the students The morning was a smooth one.  Shailendra took over and pretty much explained the project and jumped right in.  I was a little caught off-guard with the language barrier and I wasn’t going to slow him down.  We rolled with his lead, as I inserted my instruction and guidance at the appropriate moments.   We were a good team and the kids got it. There was a strong feeling of warmth and excitement with this first school and I remember feeling like I wanted to stay, when I knew it was necessary for us to leave for our next school that afternoon. here is a link to more photos on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/album.php?fbid=10150139880178485&id=641273484&aid=301691

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