09 Jun Back to School in Bangalore
I haven’t had this much fun at school in a REALLY long time. The day was coordinated through new friends at Peace Child India whom I met via our Program Manager Veena Rangaswami. The cheering, jumping, dancing, and playing didn’t stop for more than a few minutes as I spent the day at the Lower Primary Government School in Pattanagere.
I wasn’t sure what the lesson plan was going to be for 50 kids in a rural school on the outskirts of Bangalore. What I did know was that I brought a extra carry-on bag worth of pens, pencils, and eyeglasses to donate in conjunction with the Right-to-Write and New Eyes for the Needy organizations, and I was met with excitement both as we filled up pencil boxes overseas and as we left glasses with the schoolmaster.
What I didn’t know was how much fun we would have in the hours to come. They taught me some of their favorite songs. We had lunch together, and I bought them all biscuits from the local shop. We listened to jazz music, and I even taught a beginner swing dance lesson, not that I’m all that qualified to do that!
After that, they taught me a thing or two on the dance floor…I’d call it a true cultural exchange!!
I had so much fun with the kids. Several stood by me the whole time as if they were my “bodyguards”. Others jumped all over me relentlessly. Even though communications weren’t perfect, we found a rhythm that transcended language.
It was truly an excellent day, and one I would have never have had by strictly following a guide book. Even while giving back to the school, I also got to try some local food from a street cart vendor with my new friend Mala (the teacher), which I likely would have passed over on my own. And it was delicious!
As we waited for the bus back to town, Mala said that the school headmaster told her, “I’ve never met a foreigner like him. The kids absolutely went crazy for him. Usually visitors just observe a bit on the side, and then leave. Tell him to not forget us!”
That made me smile for days, and forget them I shall not.