Day 2: The warm welcome of the Indian students
Day 2 of my Everest Base Camp Trek adventure began with a much needed lie-in before we went to breakfast at the Smile Foundation's office - the partner charity in Delhi. We had spicy crackers, biscuits and a MacDonald's veggie burger ... interesting! We were then given a briefing about their partnership with Childreach and the projects they have in India.
Then we went to visit two of the projects. The first was a college where the students could learn beauty therapy, English and basic computer skills. The students attend sessions which last for 6 months, 6 days a week. The students couldn't speak much English and when they spoke to us they were quite shy, but they all wanted us to write our names out for them on paper.
We went to a shopping mall briefly before going to the next project and I was again surprised to see that in the toilets there was a shower hose connected to the wall to use in place of loo roll!
The next project was in a slum and I was shocked at some of the conditions the people were living in - flies and bugs were all over the food which was being prepared in the streets.
The school was at the end of the street and it was very small. There were four rooms which were packed with children and the hall way was also being used to teach. However, I was amazed with the standard of the children's English! The students ranged from 5-20 being taught in different groups. The first group of children we met (8-12 year olds) wanted to sing us some songs they'd learnt, they began with "Old MacDonald" then went on to "Humpty Dumpty" and several more songs were sung ending with "Jack and Jill" all with actions. I was so impressed; they wanted us to teach them some songs so we started with "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" but it became apparent very quickly that they already knew it as they started joining in with us. I racked my brains to think of a song they may not know and came up with "The Wheel s on the Bus" which seemed to go down quite well!
The older female students were learning to sew, and instead of introducing themselves in English as the other students had done, they wanted us to learn Hindi. We learned several phrases such as "I love you" and "my name is..."
Later in the evening, after diner, we were given a traditional Indian send off; wishing us luck for our travels. One by one we came down the stairs, a smudge of red powder was pressed between our eyebrows and we were handed necklaces made from marigolds. We left feeling honoured and excited about the next chapter of our the Everest base camp trek adventure.