Sarbani tells me tat when ur intentions r right, things will always fall in place...n when they dont..just try questioning if the intent is intended right!!
I remember, Sarbani had mentioned during our camping trip, that it would be brilliant if the kids at Bubbles could go to a village and get to stride along fields, see farm animals and do some tree-planting!!All of us who work in the IT industry have a team outing, atleast once a year. This year, a friend of mine suggested Rural Zing, a village adopted by Infosys youth centre. Rural Zing, as an initiative helps bridge the urban crowd with that of the village crowd.
In return, the urban log get to have a feel of village life, tractor rides, village games and loads of fresh air. The villagers, on their part are at an advantage, as the earnings go into the village developmental programmes.
And Rural Zing was too gud to believe :) I still remember the conversation we had with Pritam, who is the co-ordinator from Infosys Youth Wing. He seemed so positive, he suggested v plant trees with the children, gave us detailed descriptions of the village outing, offered to sponsor the trip and when he suggested v have some activities and fun games organized with the village children[talk abt integration :)] , our joy knew no bounds:) and both Sarbani and me had to pinch ourselves to know that we werent dreaming!!!
I call Vinod, an active volunteer with Trees for free, one fine day and tell him about the tree planting activity being planned with the kids at Bubbles and Vinod, very kindly not only offers to provide us the plants, but also sponsors them :)...We would have silently thanked him so much ki pucho math :)
Sarbani tells me that the kids at Bubbles were so excited about the field trip, mainly coz given the challenges they face day in and day out, it is not very common for these kids to have outings like these. But that this trip did wonders to not only the kids, but to most of us is like a well known fact.
With 17 saplings, kids and volunteers :), we set out on our journey to Halenijagal village with Vishwa as our guide :)
Our journey to the village was marked by Antakshari and loadsa fun!! Manan and Suhas were actually heard churning out Hindi songs and my team took immense pride in ensuring that our opponents, Mubin and Vidya's[staff at Bubbles centre] team landed a "ha" se starting song all the time, much to their dismay and our joy!!
After over an hour's bus journey, we are treated to a tractor ride!!! Now this is one thing I have always wanted to do in this lifetime :) I guess the pictures speak for themselves:)...hard to tell if the kids were having more fun or if the adults were :)
Breakfast at the village temple, was marked by the kids having a go at the bell in the temple.
The walk to the village school had the kids excited, what with cows, buffaloes, sheep and goats lining or sometimes blocking our ways:)
Independence Day celebrations were ON in the village school and the moment the kids from Bubbles landed there, it was a drumming welcome, followed by the Bubbles kids trying their hands on beating the drums:)
The games and the craft activities planned were aimed at involving the village school and the kids from Bubbles to achieve a dream called "Integration". Kids love colour, dont they? So, we had Bob and his volunteer team set up a giant canvas for them, with every kid depicting his/her version of village life.
We made flags, which was distributed at the village school and as true patriots, all of us sang "Sare Jahan se Acha" and "Bharatha Jananiya Thanujathe"!!
The tyre race and the 3-legged race events which had the Bubbles kids either team up or against the village school children was a treat to watch!!
It was so heartening to see the Bubbles kids, atleast get to the finish line in the tyre race or the village school children prompting the Bubbles kids to run in the 3-legged race, when paired together!!
Each volunteer, was paired with a kid from Bubbles. We were totally responsible for the kid and got to plant peepal trees in 17 different locations all over the village :) all thanks to Trees for Free and Vishwa.
After lunch and a short trek through the village to a lake and a field, the kids were then treated to traditional games like gilli-danda, buguri, golli, etc!!
Let me tell you this, that all through the trip it was difficult to actually believe that the 17 kids who came, had 17 varying issues...Some, being autistic were extremely social and tried to run after the village kids, imitating everything they did...Some were so happy just running around amidst open fields...I still remember a villager telling me that let him run noo..why are you after him:)
Its not very easy to work with kids, who have difficulties expressing their problems..but what I gotto c and observe during the trip is that the staff at Bubbles know what problems to anticipate...they know how to work with each one of them and to put them at ease...
N some1 holding the show together is Sarbani...be it the way she was in control of the situation, planning activities, helping the kids have food, most kids are told ki..."beta ..have food....or else Sarbani will come :)"..n then they quickly finish their food :)She simplifies life so much...that you see kids do amazing stuff and having fun at it :)...She is one committed woman, who is so passionate about ensuring tat the kids at Bubbles learn to lead independent lives!!
Links to photographs:
Bubbles outing to Infosys Village, Halenijagal