This blog tracks the journey of nine amazing young people from the London Borough of Havering who have joined Basti Ram on the adventure of a lifetime to India.
3rd - 17th August 2018
We are super excited to have the opportunity to travel with nine wonderful young people (and three equally amazing staff) from the London Borough of Havering to India this summer. This blog tracks their journey as they bravely adventure out of their comfort zone and put their own boundaries to travel across the world and share their skills and give their time to people from a completely different culture.
The group prepared tirelessly before they set off by attending 6 pre-departure workshops and planning and executing a number of sponsored events.
3rd August 2018
The day has finally arrived we are all set to meet this afternoon for the start of our amazing adventure to India.. How very exciting :)....follow us on our journey over the next two weeks.
India here we come
Ready to go Beyond Boundaries.
We arrived in Delhi safely. We are now on our way to the domestic airport.
Tired but waiting patiently for our next flight.
Some are fast asleep!
Yippee finally on the plane and landing at our final destination. It’s so green, the weather is 30 degrees
and very humid.
We’re here at the teeny tiny airport in Dharamshala waiting to collect our luggage!!
Tired but relaxed and happy. Pankaj, Basti Ram's Indian Staff Member is waiting for us outside the airport...
Our bus us here are we are watching our luggage being put on the top of the van 🚐
Finally we made it. We are welcomed with a steaming cup of Indian Chai tea in our home for the next 10 days. Today we have an early night to be fully prepared for tomorrow.
We wake up for our first day on the project. Here's our plan:
Our orientation has started. We are learning all about India, Himachal Pradesh, the communities and Indian culture.
Enjoying a yummy lunch of black chick peas, puri, yogurt, and pineapple... everyone is loving the food and asking for more spice please!
After lunch we head out on our local community walk. This lovely cow gives us our fresh milk everyday!
Here we are experiencing a warm Indian welcome from the local community. A lovely family gave us flowers.
We meet the local livestock as well....
After a yummy dinner, the anxiety is building, everyone is focused but a bit nervous about tomorrows session in the community.
There are some brilliant ideas buzzing around, tomorrows lessons are going to be fantastic!!
Monday 6th of August - Our first time in the community delivering sessions.
Wow we are super proud of the amazing effort put in by our group today. All our participants put their heart and soul into being inspiring role models for the children. At the end of the morning all the local children had huge smiles on their faces, and despite the rain we anticipate that over the week the number of people coming to our sessions will continue to increase as word get around about their new energetic visitors. Well Done all, everyone is super proud of your efforts today!
After meeting the community young people shared some thoughts on their experiences
"An Amazing Experience, but hard work" - Levi
"Its so nice to see them happy to learn. Education will last forever while money is only temporary" - Chelsea
"Its nice to see that children value their education, kids are cute and keen to learn" - Tyler
"In the moment you realise that education is the most important gift that you can give to them" - Tia
After a busy morning we arrived home for a yummy lunch of pumpkin curry, rice, chips, chapati, and fresh pineapple.
After some rest we had our Hindi language workshop, ate dinner, and reflected on the day.
Tuesday 7th August 2018
Today we ran our community sessions as a whole group, which gave all the group the opportunity to share their skills with each other as well as the community, we sang songs with the children and played games such as North, South, East and West.
We arrived home and everyone ate a yummy lunch, before learning some more Hindi language skills, and then visiting the local market to choose some Indian clothes and enjoy an ice-cream.
On our visit to the local market we saw more animals to add to our list of animals in India
A visitor in our recreation room.
Along with so many dogs!
Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th August 2018
Over the last two days the group have received some really positive feedback from the local community who shared that they were really impressed with the energy, professionalism and enthusiasm of our group. Everyone is really proud of their efforts! Well done guys
The group gave biscuits to local children today
Over the last two days the group have learned how to make Pakora, Chai (Indian Tea), Puri (Fried Indian Bread) and Chapati (Bread traditionally eaten with curry). Thank you Pankaj for the cookery lessons!
Friday 10th August 2018
Today we enjoyed more community activities, sang songs and played games with the community children.
Later after a yummy lunch back at the apartment, the group enjoyed a Henna Art workshop
Later on the group enthusiastically took on the challenge of Bollywood Dancing with our cook Rehka and her daughter, before sharing their own amazing dancing skills.
At our evening briefing the group saw where the first of their fundraising money is being spent in the form of new stationary for the school, pens, pencils, erasers and two large white boards for the classroom. The group will deliver these items personally to the community when they visit on Monday.
Saturday 11th August 2018
Today was an extremely busy day after breakfast at 7:30 we left for excursion to Naddi lake and Waterfall.
We then all pushed ourselves to trek another 30 minutes up the mountain to a remote cafe for lunch and snacks
After lunch we climbed down and headed for McCloudganj for a spot of shopping and a visit to the Dalai Lama Monastery.
We took some selfies with animals along the way.
After a busy afternoon of shopping to travelled to a forest guest house to get changed into our Indian clothes for celebratory dinner in Mccloudganj
Everyone enjoyed a memorable dinner. We exchanged messages with positive affirmations to each other and generally had a really good time :)
It was the perfect end to a fantastic day!
Sunday 12th August 2018
On Sunday we left early for excursion to the Rock Temple ( temple made entirely of rock)
Later we trekked up to Kangra Fort for some spectacular views. Everyone enjoyed listening to the Audio Tour while wandering around the ruins.
It was another enjoyable and fulfilling day :)
Monday 13th August and Tuesday 14th August 2018
We have had a busy last couple of days. On Monday we held a Talent Show. Kane was our lovely host, Tyler wowed us with his magic, Levi taught us all how to draw a deer, the staff team delivered a musical medley, Olivia and Princess showed off their acting skills and Chelsea and Princess demonstrated their dancing skills.
In the evening the cloud cleared over the rooftop to reveal the most amazing view of the mountain range adjacent to our apartment.
The day ended on a high, with positive reflections from everyone and a warm satisfying cup of hot chocolate.
On Tuesday we said bye to the community children and prepared for the next stage of our adventure. The group were sad but stayed strong as they said goodbye to the children they have got to know over the past week.
We taught the local children to do the dab.
A tearful final group hug
After an afternoon of packing, and relaxing we held an exercise exploring how participants had moved beyond their boundaries so far on the trip. The group shared their worries before the trip and their thoughts now and moments of the trip that had pushed them beyond their boundaries.
Themes included facing fears of insects, unfamiliar food, living with strangers and coping with the roads and the traffic. The group also shared their highlights a common highlight for most was the waterfall, and the team effort everyone showed to reach the top.
The group also shared their top tips for the incoming group arriving next week:
The group said a tearful thank you to Rekha and Madu our chefs who have looked after us so well in this part of the venture and bought gifts and said a huge thank you to Pankaj, Basti Ram's group leader in Himachal Pradesh. It was a really special moment....
Tomorrow at 10 am sharp we leave to catch our flight to Delhi for the final leg of our adventure!!
Wednesday 15th August 2018
Today was a busy day, we caught our flight to Delhi an after landing safely we caught an AC coach to Agra, where we stayed overnight.
Thursday 16th August 2018
Today we set off at 5:45 am to see the spectacular Taj Mahal. Everyone later agreed it was worth arising so early to see.