Blown Away (figuratively of course, it’s too hot!)

I’m so overwhelmed, I’ve been thinking about this blog for the whole day and I’m still unsure about where I should start. Overwhelmed in a, this-is-amazing way!

So, I thought before I start writing about the kids or even the project, I’ll write about the location with it being the first thing you see upon arrival, to give a foundation. First and foremost, I must say I’m so surprised as to how big the campus actually is. There is just so much space to roam around. There is 36 staff, from the teachers, to the kitchen staff, to the farmers, to room keepers, gaushala staff and finally the administrators. To give you a little idea of what is where I drew a little map before I go into a little detail about each sthaan.

Map of Madhav Vidhyapeeth

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Hanuman Mandir

This one is self explanatory, but unlike most, it’s self sufficient. When I asked where the Pandit was, they said the kids look after it! They light a divo in the mornings, say bhajans at night and also clean it themselves – on a daily.

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Vidhyapeeth

The whole campus is in the middle of a large piece of farm land and the school reflects it’s surroundings. It’s open and cool and offers some beautiful views. The sound of the kids talking and laughing run through the school. The classrooms all have names linked to Hindu Dharma. Classroom etiquette is also along the same lines, no shoes, sitting cross-legged. Artwork also is pasted across the school, all with a moral, Hindu Dharma or farming related image painted on. The lower ground is for the primary school, second floor hosts the secondary school and top floor is home for some of the elder boys (where they sleep). The second floor also hosts the karyalaya (teachers lounge) and pustakaryalaya (library). In between the floors there are plants and openings letting a lot of light in. I often wonder what it’s like during monsoon season! The school hosts only tribal children from the surrounding areas. I’ll go into more detail in another blog :). Enjoyably, the farmland and open corridors allow a lovely breeze to flow throughout.

Sangha/Samiti Sthaan

Shakha happens once a day in the evening, whereby the kids organise and take everything themselves. Both the sthaans are large and open, offering the kids freedom to go where they want. This picture on my left is the distance from my ‘house’ to the Vidhyalaya, which can be very hot even on that relatively small distance during the course of the afternoon.

Adhikari Kaksha/ Shikshak Housing

To be honest, I expected nothing like this. Truly. I have AC (though I don’t use it), WiFi, a lovely, clean toilet, lack of mosquitoes, even hot water! My view from both my front and back garden is spectacular. Two  shikshikas live above me on the second floor. My roof offers some AMAZING views of the stars at night. I have another volunteer staying with me called Aartiben from Kutch who was raised herself in a school run by Vidhya Bharti and wanted to give something back.

Bhojanalaya (Outside)

This is used for early morning breakfast, late night dinner, dinner preparations and also, for late night readings under some wooden propped up lighting. It’s recycling to another level (with the use of nearby wood).

Bhojanalaya (Inside) – Including the main Karyalaya

This bhojanalya is used for lunchtimes, as it’s 40 degrees now so offers some shelter from the direct heat. This building is also home to admin karyalaya, the home of the WiFi, printer and trusted manager Nileshbhai. The second floor is also has a few more shikshaks staying there including Ashadidi, who is in charged of the syllabus for Vidhya Bharti for the the entirety of Bharat.

Gaushala

Home to 34 of Bharat’s best cows, offering the kids much of the dairy needs. There are plans for a new gaushala with 100 more cows, meeting their full dairy needs all on campus.

Chattralaya (Hostel)

This is where the majority of the kids sleep (300+). Some adults stay here in case of any problems over-night. They bring a small metal suitcase from home with the few items of do possess.

Water Tower

There is a nearby tank of water that comes from a long line of pipes along the farmland. Eletricity then pumps that water into their taps.

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