Today when we woke up we received a minor shock. Dhiraj told us that the King of Mysore passed away last night from a heart attack and the whole nation declared today as a public holiday. As a result, there will be no public school lesson for us to teach. Fortunately before the trip, we have told the members to have an open mind-set and expect changes along the way. After discussion with Dhiraj, we decided to have a sports session with the children at LHCH.
The sports session was a brilliant way to get to know the children better. We had 4 different stations – captain’s ball, dodge ball, Frisbee and tug of war. The children were very excited and they warmed up to us very fast. The highlight of the sports session was the last-minute tug of war game between the children from LHCH and the Inspiring India team. We won the first game and lost the next. For the final game, it was a very close fight but we lost ultimately due to weaker physique. We all went back for lunch feeling really tired but contented because the children enjoyed the games really much. Even though the Inspiring India team lost, we have won the hearts of the children with our determination and enthusiasm.
Before lunch, we had our first Kannada lesson. The teacher from LHCH, Wilmar, taught us several greetings and general questions. Honestly, it was not easy and we were learning based on pure memory. Our homework was to learn a new sentence after interacting with the children later for the evening lessons. The rationale for learning Kannada was because some of the members noticed that the children respond more eagerly when you speak to them in native language. It was also a very good cultural exchange opportunity.
For the evening lessons, similar to yesterday, we kept the 6 different stations but rotated the children. It was obvious that the volunteers tapped upon their experiences from yesterday and bonded more with the children. The children were also more receptive and responsive to new cheers. The lessons ended with Dhiraj teaching us 2 games. The first one was the skipping of ropes for 6 people at a time. We had to enter the rotating rope one by one until all 6 of us are in and skipping. Most of us were really afraid and uncertain of the time to enter. The 2nd game was a popular local game called “Chain is cut”. It was very much like “Pepsi Cola 1,2,3” where you had to step on someone’s foot to eliminate him/her except that the game was played in a team setting.
At night, we suffered 2powercuts and the 2nd one happened after I had just finished showering. It was really an awful situation to be in the dark naked and wet. Fortunately, some of the members came to save me with their torchlights.
Looking back on Todays’ activities, this project is exactly like the skipping rope game. In the middle of the rotating rope, it’s repetitive and safe – very much like the activities we had planned for the children. However, the difficult part was to take the plunge to do it. If you hesitated, you might hit the rope – fear and uncertain of what is going to happen. However, if you were determined, then you would enter and leave the rope a more confident person.