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Blog 2015

India 8

Communications Officer

Monday
Any excuse to wear our Punjabi Salwar khameez suits. We gathered around the breakfast table dressed up and ready for national Teachers' Day - an annual celebration recognising the importance and hard work of teachers across the country. India has been celebrating Teachers' Day on the 5 September since 1962. The day commemorates the birthday of Dr Radhakhrishnan, a philosopher and inspirational teacher, and his contribution towards Indian education system. The birthday of Dr Radhakhrishnan came to be celebrated as Teacher's Day when, one day, some of his students and friends requested him to allow them to celebrate his birthday. In reply, Dr. Radhakrishnan said, "instead of celebrating my birthday separately, it would be my proud privilege if September 5 is observed as Teacher's day".

Several slices of scrambled eggs and toast later, we headed to reception for a last minute rehearsal of the cup song, which continued during our journey. We definitely kept the taxi drivers entertained. Upon arrival at the school, the principal escorted us upstairs where the intricately dressed infants were being seated. The first floor of the building was an explosion of colour with everyone embracing the occasion. The day was organised by the children who had prepared many performances including interpretive, contemporary and traditional dances. The principal asked us to judge the fancy dress competition, short listing three of the best which proved to be quite a challenge! Approaching midday, we were given centre stage and the cup song seemed to go down well with the audience. Lunchtime in the staff room was a first - putting our finger feeding abilities to the test, shovelling what was effectively a soup using rotis was not so successful for us all. The performances resumed and speeches were given. Kathryn had prepared a compilation of Disney songs as part of an after school singing club she has been running in recent weeks. The day finished with a music game where the children were asked to guess the name of the teacher which each song was describing. All members of staff were fully immersed in this exercise, chanting and giggling at every opportunity. The winners of the fancy dress competition were announced and awarded their trophies. Before leaving the school, we were introduced to Monika, the vice principal, and took advantage of a group photo opportunity featuring her 1 year old son, one to be framed potentially.

Tuesday
Excited about being able to wear our flip flops to school again is probably an understatement, although this probably wasn't our best idea as some of us plodded through the guest house gate at 16:00 with green feet. We arrived at the school at 09:40 ready to go head first into a painting marathon. With three external feature walls on the first floor needing attention, as well as the interior of class 4 and the nursery class, we had our work cut out! Previous DUCK groups who have worked at the school, have created a stimulating learning environment by painting inspirational quotes in all corners of the building. We decided to simulate the quote wall downstairs using a variety of fonts and illustrations to improve the aesthetics of the first floor. A personal favourite of mine now features on the central wall upstairs 'Live as if you were to die tomorrow, learn as if you were to live forever' - Gandhi. For another prominent wall, Meg suggested we enlarged the India stamp which is printed on the rear of our stash, an idea which the principal was very excited about!

After lunch our focus turned to designing a cartoon freeze frame for the nursery, a challenge which Ashley, Jen and Sophie took head on. The theme was agreed - under the sea featuring Dory, Nemo and Crash the turtle. Meanwhile upstairs, the rest of us began painting the outline of the bark and branches ready to add our handprints to create a personalised handprint tree inside class 4. Little did we know how much fun the hand printing process was going to be. After getting paint pretty much everywhere and salvaging many dripping prints we decided to call it a day. Back at the guest house the cup song had now become the theme of the expedition thanks to Lucy. Lounging about in our rooms with whatever we could find resembling a cup and tapping along to any and every song, was becoming second nature. Opting for an early night was definitely one of our better decisions in preparation for our penultimate day of project!

Lily