Blue Team - Bamanngachi
Hello to all our friends and families back in the good old US of A. My name is Greg Miyatake and I have the honor of being the adult leader for the Blue Team: Sammy, Hannah, Tylee, Emily, Max and Jonny.
So we have been in India now for a full week and our teaching is essentially completed except for a morning visit to our village, Bamanngachi, on Monday. Today we leave Nishtha at about 9 am and travel to the DBS (Day Boarding School) for our cultural exchange day with the girls and some of their family members. Jane has asked the teens to do up their hair, brush their teeth, put on their makeup (girls only) and dress in their local attire which as purchased this past week. In other words, they were to get all fixed up so they can strut their stuff. It will be the climax of our visit here to India and everyone is very excited!
This past week we departed each morning at about 7:30 and traveled 15 minutes to Bamanngachi where approximately 100 students ages 6 -15 (elementary and junior high students) attend school. We would start the day with an attention getter, a game and a song. After getting the students quieted down (alligator, alligator chomp chomp!) each teen would then take a class and teach simple English by reading from a children’s book. For the younger children instead of reading the story, the teens would point out various picture and ask, “what color?”, or, “what is this?”, etc. The teaching was followed by an outdoor-activity such as tug-of-war, the parachute game, or soccer. One day Tylee rallied everyone to clean up the litter from the school grounds.
Each day following our undertakings at the school in Bamanngachi we had the opportunity to visit the homes of some of our students. We were always welcomed graciously and offer a Hindi blessing including a dot on our foreheads which is called a (the dot is bindi and serves as a constant reminder to keep God at the center of one’s thoughts) as well as some local snacks such as cucumber, coconut, guava, water fruit, and a deep fried cracker. Jonny’s really liked the crackers so we started calling them Jonny crackers. All the homes were very humble with mostly dirt floors, corrugated tin roofs and bamboo supports. At some homes the children entertained us with a song and dance and we reciprocated with one of our YMAD songs.
By late morning each day we found ourselves at the DBS where we interfaced with the girls for the rest of the day. Until lunch time we would play games, sign songs and help with journaling (write something in English in their journals). After lunch the serious teaching began utilizing the lessons which were prepared prior to our arrival in India (prepositions, adjectives, actions words, places, and days & months). Each teen would take a small group of 6 – 8 girls and proceed through the lesson which typically took 30 – 40 minutes. Upon completion of the first lesson the teen would rotate to a new group of girls. There were usually 2-3 rotations per days. By 3:30 teaching is complete and we moved to the temple (part of the 2nd floor of the school) to participate in a closing ritual after which we would walk the girls down the lane to the waiting busses and bid them good bye until the next day.
It has truly been a pleasure to be a part of this expedition and to have the opportunity to work with these teens the past 8 months. It has been amazing to see the change in perspectives, increases in self-confidence, motivation, responsibility and the blossoming of love for India and her people. For the teens’ parents, thank you for sharing them with me!