Igatpuri Trip with Grade 6 – Academic Year 2019-20

We started the new semester of school for grade 6 with the trip to Igatpuri from January 8th to 10th. Around 60 students came for the trip along with 6 teachers. After a fun-filled bus ride replete with song and dance, we arrived at our destination on of Tropical Resort.
After savouring the hot lunch served, the first activity was a trek to Bhavali village hills. The trek was full of undulating hills and clear weather, and students saw many wild insects and plants in their natural habitat. The trek was followed by a refreshing high tea, and later a game and matches in football and cricket. After a completely engaging day, students were looking forward to day two.
Day two started with the community service at Bhavali school. The students were divided into two groups, one group collaborated with their counterparts in grade 8 from the ZP school to prepare skits on 4 Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot. The skit was in Hindi and our students were fabulous in the skit presentation and overall collaboration. The second group of students went with a few local students to their homes and conducted a short interview, which gave them insight into the lives of students from a different background. In the evening, students participated enthusiastically in the talent show.
We ended our trip on a happy note with a group photo at Tropical Resort, arriving back to the school campus by afternoon; enriched with lifelong memories and learning experiences.
Here are a few reflections from our students

An old adage states, “the greatest gift one can give to others is your time”. The above statement is a reflection of my thoughts after the community service activity which we carried out in Igatpuri. This experience showed us that by putting aside a little time to help others who are not as privileged as us, the world becomes a happier place. Our community service activity was carried out at a school that houses underprivileged children. We joined the kids at their assembly where we sat with them during their prayer meet, and throughout the session, you could feel the positive vibes and auras encircling us all. We then engaged with them and got to know a little about their lives. Even though a language barrier existed between us, a few jokes always solve the problem. Instantaneously, I felt a heart to heart connect. During this moment, I felt a heart-warming sensation, and even though we were all a little shy and uncomfortable it put things into perspective. It made me think how about how little effort it took to bring a smile onto their innocent faces and spread so much joy. I would have to admit that all of this was totally worth it. We then got sorted into our school houses and did an activity with them where we combined their input with our knowledge and created a skit, poster and slogan for a common cause... THE 4 R’s - Reuse, Reduce, Recycle, Rot. This activity made me bond with my peers at a much deeper level. I believe that learned a lot more in-depth about the struggles that people go through when I experienced it first-hand. B.D. Somani has given us an opportunity to experience something as selfless and unifying as community service which leaves you feeling content. So, if you feel like you are too small to make a difference... I urge you to think again. For every little droplet comes together to make an ocean.

निसर्गाच्या कुशीत! The once secluded landscape dipped in from the middle forming a quaint little valley. One that was found a perfect experience for 6th grade. I think I speak for everyone when I say it truly was. From the moment we entered a slim path lined with wildflowers of white with a purple tip, to the highest point of the trek. Intrigued, instead of chattering and screaming in boisterous ways we paid attention to each and every little detail. Listening to the birds chirping in sync, the blades of grass swaying to the winds whistle, brushing against each other, little creaks running and sounds of goats bleating happily as they fed on the sweet grass. The sun did look so very pretty dressed in buttery yellow sneaking a peek from a fluffy white cloud, forming an extravagant beam of light. The trek to the top taught us little traits that were comparable to situations later in life. For example, it was all about awareness, where to keep your foot, is the rock loose and is this the only way. On the way to the top there were scattered shouts of voices saying “what if we fall, I’m scared”. To this, the kind gentlemen guiding us up the hill answered: “ just don’t look down”. These words reminded me that in life your going to have to do risky things which can cause a great deal of loss instead of looking “down” if you look up with confidence telling yourself “I can do it “ it is most likely that you will succeed. निसर्गाच्या कुशीत... it summarises our experience of the Igatpuri trek. This phrase which ruffles translate to there are more facets that unveil themselves as you climb a mountain and be on the lap of nature. And in that very moment, it felt like the very soul of Igatpuri.

For our community service involved visiting the homes of certain families. I went to the house of a girl named Rohini. Rohini's father was a farmer by occupation. However, he lost half his land when the government asked for it as part of the road expansion project. His compensation wasn't even fair. Besides partially losing his means of livelihood the weather also doesn't support the crops, the drastic rainfall ruins them. Lack of a permanent job, makes him take up part-time jobs which may vary daily. the family depends only on his wages. There is no local support from the panchayat either. Above and beyond, Rohini's father would also drink alcohol, which took away a good chunk of money. After what seemed like an endless journey, there we were finally at the top of the Igatpuri hill. That day everything just seemed so different and surreal, something straight out of one of those fancy Bollywood movies. The lush green grass covering the earth, like a beautiful woven carpet laid there for us to walk upon. The clear blue sky above us, the cold wind hitting our faces and the streams flowing through the mountains reaching the lakes filled our hearts with sheer joy. The tiny frogs croaking as they jump from one lily pad to the other, the chirping of the birds ringing in the air, all so simple and yet so amazing. Barely 200 km Away from the city was this place, serene and magnificent. Time just flew by and before we knew it, we were back to reality. Wish we could go back!

This was one of the best camps that I attended with the activities around team-building were a lot of fun! The best example was the talent show where we came together as a team. Everyone had fun and enjoyed the competition! Dancing on the last night with other students and teachers on great songs played by the DJ was a terrific experience which I think brought us closer to our teachers. I really wish we could do this again soon!

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