On the 5th of February 2010, 58 young men and women went on a village exposure trip to Hoskote,a rural area within Karnataka. The motley group consisted of a mix of Indian, Swedish and Norwegian students,with a German thrown in for good measure. The main objective of the camp was to get to know and experience a village setup, and the way of life led by villagers.We also learned about the ways in which CSA caused social emancipation,through its various projects and schemes initiated in a particular village.
Day 1: Initially the journey started in the village by a trek to a nearby hill, where the volunteers conducted a few games and activities as an ice-breaker and to build bonds with each other which was very much evident on the way down the hill. And then later in the evening the volunteers and other friends were informed about the various initiatives conducted by CSA in the village.
Day 2: Started with the refreshing yoga session which energized us for the activities of the day. The base for the most interesting part of the camp was set up with the interactive orientation session by a resource person. It was a give and take session by the volunteers who shared their experiences about the ancestral homes and experiences in villages. it was wondering to know the similarities and differences that existed among different villages.
Diversed groups were made for the cultural performances that would take place next day in the village. In groups, brilliant ideas came up that could be put up in the form of skit, dance, songs, etc. All the volunteers equally participated and practiced for the next days performance.
In the evening, we were split up into seven different villages. Each of these villages had three to four families hosting us and therefore we were further divided in groups of two/ three which consisted of one Indian and one foreign student. And then comes the fun…. Tempo ride! Tempo like always was the vehicle used for dropping the students to their respective villages. It was not only a means of transport but also served the purpose of entertainment. Some of us had already experienced such a ride but for some it was overwhelming and an exciting experience. we were welcomed with warmth and affection of the kids and the people of the villages. In general, all of us had a different experiences like making and eating Ragi mudde, eating and sleeping on the floor, sleeping on the floor, sleeping in the same room as the cow, warmth feeling in the cold night…. etc.
Day 3: For almost all of us, our Sunday started with the natural alarms of the cock, moos of cows. After the routine work at homelike fetching water, sweeping, cleaning and milking the cows, we walked to the fields to join them in sowing and ploughing, cleaning the fields, etc. It was a bit difficult for us to do these simple tasks but as we continued we enjoyed it. At noon time we were picked again and travelled by the joyous ride- Tempo!
The practice sessions, which had started the previous day, continued and we later left to another village for our final performance. We were able to gather a large crowd with our most useful way of campaigning- Beedi Naataka ! ( street theatre). The ideas and practice finally led to the enjoyable performance through skit, dance, songs with active involvement of the people of the village.
It was a tiring day for the volunteers, yet it would not have been complete without the traditional campfire. We had a whale of a time, grooving to the latest Bollywood and Kollywood hits, blaring out of our Director, Johny sir’s car. At last, though, the fun and games came to an end,as we gathered close to the campfire to have a formal ‘send-off’ for all our third-year volunteers, who would be leaving CSA in another month or so. This was, perhaps, the saddest part of the camp. The first year and ” designated senior” volunteers put up a hilarious skit miming the mannerisms of the outgoing volunteers.The third years countered by putting up an equally brilliant play of their own. Then, they were given mementos