India Expedition - July 2018: A Visual Diary by Ruchi Shah

Day 1.jpg

Day 1 - "Bunked up in beds"

  • Delhi Food tours and Tuk-tuks.

  • 7 expeditioners crammed in a 6-person room.

  • Flipflops, Blankets, towels and back packs.

  • Lack of charging ports.

  • No air conditioning but a hot, happy little family.

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Day 2 - "The Countdown"

  • Beginning the day at 4am for a 6 o'clock train.

  • 7 people / 1 bathroom. Scheduling turns for having a shower.

  • Quick - drying towels, sipper water bottles all essentials packed!

  • Last few cups of tea at the hostel to wake us up.

  • Finally, 7 people, 30 bags (full of books and supplies) - to catch the Kathgodam train.

Day 3.jpg

Day 3 - "Introductions"

  • Sitting in a circle, introducing ourselves.

  • Welcome songs are sung!

  • The most beautiful meeting room, against a natural backdrop.

  • Seeing the school, the children, the solar classroom, the children, the water en-catchment - a lot of firsts!

  • Mala (The Pratham Books author) and her thousand questions and little stories!

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Day 4 - "A beautiful beginning with blessings, and a bright end"

  • The beautiful view from our homestay rooms.

  • Proud trees with vertical tree trunks - reaching out for the sky!

  • Winding roads take us to the ancient Jageshwar temple complex - carved into a hillside. A short course in Hinduism followed by a traditional *Puja* ceremony.

  • Bright, blooming flowers and brightly dressed women unwinding after a long day in the shade of a tree.

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Day 5 - "Give and Take"

  • And early beginning to the day - surviving on Jam sandwiches and tea.

  • Donated about 180 books for the library, stationery for all the children and awarded many scholarships to selected children.

  • We got back hugs, smiles, waves and children very excited to begin the day!

  • Benchmarking literacy with students - Making colored fishes during the art activity.

  • Ending the day at Dhokaney Falls, over chips and a hot plate of Maggi!

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Day 6 - "It's all connected"

  • The older kids taught the younger kids all the art activities and helped them use SiMBi.

  • We met 'Aarohi' a local NGO - where people from the city work together with locals to integrate health, generate business and education.

  • Researcher Nick joined students on their commute home from school to learn about the route they take to get to and from school

  • This day was about how things get connected, and a circle completes.

  • When people come together it empowers the community, helps integrate their ideas, bring an impact on holistic collaboration.

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Day 7 - “When the fog clears, sunshine follows”

  • The clouds descended onto the mountains making for a misty 25 km drive to school. We spotted temporary sheds, villagers building fruit crates on the roadside on the way back which was another 25 kms journey.

  • The students and TWSB volunteers enjoyed dancing together in the rain, they also braided Steph and Carly hair in preparation for school!

  • Artwork today was focused on putting together postcards for all the supporters of TWSB, while adding finishing touches for our 2nd Water Catchment System at the school.

  • The day ended with a breath taking view of the valley at Mukteshwar.

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Day 8 - “Washed out - yet working!”

  • It was a declared holiday due to floods in Uttarakhand, making it impossible for people to travel to school or work, but TWSB decided to make the most of the day!

  • We spent the day at school with teachers who lived nearby, had a training workshop to orient teachers to SiMBi and the other resources available on our Raspberry Pi technology

  • Three of the senior students Divya, Pooja and Manasa braved the rainfall and came into school anyways and designed postcards with Ruchi.

  • Continued transportation research interviews to discuss at financial model for a potential future school bus.

  • A happy face drawn into a mound of cement brought a smile to our face. Its speaks about the attitude people embrace - the locals who have lived here for centuries braving hardships and enjoying the land.

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Day 9 - “Thank you for everything”

  • The day began with a long wait over coffee due to heavy rains, but nonetheless proceeded with activities.

  • The highlight being a special assembly organized by HPS to thank TWSB for there activities, research and projects that we worked on together. TWSB had the chance to thank the students, teachers, and headmasters for their time and willingness to work with us for the entire week.

  • The TWSB team was gifted an entire crate of fresh apples and pears by School Founder Brij Mohanji!

  • This marked the end of an impactful expedition, spending our last day at Bhimtaal with our feet up.

  • Today we celebrated the exciting news that SiMBi was accepted to the Accelerator Catapult program at the University of Norway! Making it possible for us to work with more schools, set up many more classrooms and create more content.

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Day 10 - “Goodbye until next time!”

  • After late night celebrations, a sleepy team woke up to enjoy yummy omelettes and toast.

  • We then drove to a small pristine lake called Garudataal for the team to unwind, and enjoy its beauty. To reflect and think about the last 10 days filled with opportunity, impact, and excitement for the continued success for Himalayan Public School and TWSB.

  • We stopped by a local 'I Heart' cafe to indulge in yummy burgers, pastas and pizzas with frozen flavored coffees after a long time.

  • The team then arrived back in New Delhi where we said our goodbyes to each other, and moved onto our respective next locations.