By Martha Maggie Saidi
My visit to India (My Internship at Ryan School) from the 7th of August to the 25th of September 2014. I went to India to participate in the International Children’s Festival in Janah and Nangpu.
India is a country exceedingly rich in culture, overflowing with the smells, sights and sounds of life. It is both a rewarding and a challenging place to travel. From my experience traversing this vast country , it lives up to its tagline of “incredible India” for a multitude of reasons ,warm people ,outgoing and open hearted in nature ,astoundingly varied landscapes that make each state seem like its own country ,historic architecture that exudes a palette of glorious colours at every turn ,authentic cuisine that turns many travelers into vegetarians and so much more .
Nigeria, Morocco and Turkey were some of the countries that took part in the exchange festival. Schools that took part in the exchange program were Ryan School, St John’s School and St Xshevious School. Early morning, the next day we left for Ryan School Padmavati for the festival activities. When we got to the school we were introduced to the creative director who was in charge of the program for the exchange program. We introduced ourselves and familiarized with one another, after that we were given a short briefing on the concept of the festival and cultural exchange programs and workshops.
I was given a platform to interact with children from Ryan School and teach them about my country through sharing various facts and statistics about Zimbabwe from my culture ,my beliefs ,my values ,the story of the Zimbabwean bird ,our independence, traditional dances and African cuisine ,the national flower to the famous Victoria Falls , Chinhoyi caves , Lake Chivero and other modern tourist destinations.
We had story telling sessions whereby each intern would interpret a story in his or her language then translate it to the English language so the Indian children would gain a clear understanding of what the story was all about. I shared famous Shona story which include “Tsuro NemaGen’a”,“Tsuro na gudo”, “Tsuro ne mhuka dzesango” with the children, and most of them really enjoyed the folktales. In return, the children taught me some famous Indian dances, songs and stories. I also taught them basic Shona words which they found to be very interesting.
Later in the day we had food tasting sessions whereby the Indian students prepared Indian meals for us so we could have a taste of the other side of life. The Indian cuisine was well cooked and I enjoyed each dish and the spices were just loveable, they made the dishes tastier and I even copied some of the recipes to prepare dishes back home for my Zimbabwean family. During the food tasting sessions, an Indian friend of mine taught me the basics of the Indian language and I was able to communicate and interact with my Indian friends from there on.
The visit to India was indeed an opportunity of a lifetime as I had the chance to meet interns from other Africancountries, who also taught me stuff from their culture, language and way of life. I learnt that from the Indian culture, early marriage is allowed, and girls usually get married at the age of 13 or 14 and that Indians are very particular about the way they dress and they are proud of their religion and culture. The intern form Nigeria, explained how it is important for one to be educated in Nigeria and that they have over a hundred universities in Nigeria whereby people from all walks of life can access education. The intern from Morocco taught me the basics of their language and the intern from Turkey taught me famous Turkish dances and songs.
I had an amazing experience in India and I hope I will get another chance to visit India .Next time around I am hoping to visit the Golden City ,Jaisalmer,an old crumbing fort made of yellow sandstone featured as its centerpiece , The vast Thar Desert , The famous Taj Mahal and the city of Varanasi or Benares . I would like to meet my newly found friends from Nigeria, Turkey, India and Morocco and maybe visit each one in their respective country.
I would like to thank the Lord for a lifetime opportunity, the support I got from CHIPAWO Trust and everyone who made this amazing trip possible.