Friday, September 16, 2005

Activity Week

There are many great things about working at Woodstock (have I mentioned the whole tea-with-treats-twice-a-day thing?) but one of the most exciting is probably Activity Week. This is when we take the learning outside the classroom and all the students go off on adventures of various sorts for a week. Some go to Delhi and do cultural studies; some go to a dance academy to learn traditional Indian dances; some go on massive week-long hikes; some go rafting and do ropes courses, etc. etc. And the best part is—staff have to (get to!) go along to chaperone.

I’ve been assigned to the 9th grade Activity Week. The 9th graders go to hillside villages for the week and assist with agriculture, building projects, water conservation, anything that’s needed. It’s sort of like your typical service/mission project but with less of an explicitly Christian thrust and more of an anthropological one. Our kids will have a chance to talk with village elders about the area, meet village kids their own age, participate in the cooking of meals, and learn a basic handicraft (like spinning thread or weaving a basket). Our primary objective for the week is to start construction on a school building so that the kids don’t have to walk as many kilometers to get to school. We’ll also devote one day to a full-day hike to a place of importance to the villagers, like a temple.

We’re teaming up with an NGO in the area that is overseeing the school project. We’ll be camping out for the week a little ways from the village, which means we have to cart all our supplies in on our backs – tents, sleeping bags, some food, water purification, etc. The villagers will cook some of our meals for us (with the help of our kids) and we’ll be responsible for making some on our own.

I’m super excited about the trip. There will be three adult chaperones (one leader, two helpers) and twelve kids. I’ve never camped for that long or roughed it to that extent so it should be quite an experience! Activity Week is at the end of October so I’ll keep you posted as I find out more.


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