Once again we left early and arrived at the Ludhiana East office where we were met by Mr. Pankaj and Mr. Harpreet. We departed for the first school with Mr. Harpreet, where we were met by Mr. Ranjodth. The school was in a rural area and in a very peaceful setting. This day happened to fall on a holiday (Guru’s Birthday), so there was lots of chanting and praying in the village which was broadcast over the loudspeaker so we only experienced the serenity in between prayers and it was quite a contrast compared to the loudness of urban Punjab. We met the teachers and students at the first school. This school had both primary and elementary classes. The first class we visited was pre-primary where the youngest of children start their learning. The classroom was very bright and had many teaching aids up on the walls. There were no desks or chairs as children at that age mainly learn by playing and furniture would just be in the way. We then visited third grade class where there were small desks appropriate for the children. Also the bottom parts of the walls were actually black boards all around, so that children can utilize them instead of wasting paper. This seemed very logical to us and students were utilizing them very well. The older grades had larger furniture and more advanced learning aids. There was also a room that was devoted to technology studies, creative writing, and reading. Each class was scheduled for a period in this room so they can take advantage of it. Overall the school was designed with a lot of thought and was extremely functional. The office/staff room was also decorated with motivational aids and displayed all the trophies and recognition that was awarded to the school. We were told about all the little details of how school spirit is built, how the infrastructure is maintained, and how teachers are very well treated at the schools. This was also apparent from our observations. Of course no visit would be complete without us being offered water, soda, chai, and this time also vegetable pokora. The staff was really very gracious and sincere. We have had a great reception from all our hosts at every place we visit.
After we drove over to a second school which was already empty of students as they were dismissed due to the holiday. This school also had a “kitchen garden” where students learn how to grow plants. We were shown a classroom that was designed and implemented by Disney and was very colorful. Once again we had a change to interact with teachers and staff.
On the way back to Ludhiana East office Mr. Harpreet took us to a Dharba (roadside restaurant) where they server very fresh, delicious and inexpensive food.
The day ended with us being welcomed to return any time and us thanking the hosts very much for their hospitality. We spent Friday night in 711, discussing the week and sharing some stories. It ended up being a late night, but since we knew that Saturday will be a bit more of a relaxed day we allowed ourselves to stay up way past midnight.