When your local program leader tells you that he and his SIT coworkers/family own a school–you don’t know what to expect. I imagined a classroom, but to my surprise we witnessed a nearly 20-classroom building serving hundreds of local school children. I am honored to learn from such amazing individuals who are more humble than proud of their contributions to the SIT and Global School of Learning families. Spending the week at the Global School of Learning (GSL) in Bahraich has been full of chasing frogs out of our showers, witnessing the film 3 Idiots, yoga, cricket games, and most of all learning from our peers and community members of Risia and urban Bahraich.
We claim that we’re products of the American education system and have a hard time being given a task like “design a sustainable city and present in an hour” without requirements. As hard as that is for the adults in our lives, and without direction, the students at GSL challenged us to go with it, and to cut and paste a hospital larger than the city’s river because that’s what was most important to them (and now us).
The next few afternoons were quickly categorized as “awkward but important.” Neither one of us (GSL or Experiment students) had an idea of what we were doing, but when given enough time our conversations quickly escalated to discussing systematic health care issues, forms of government financial aid, the relationship between healthcare and education, institutionalized discrimination and literacy rates, whether Chicago or New York had the best pizza (and we all know it’s Chicago), and very simply discussing our best friends.
Waiting 2 years to apply to the Leadership Institute, I have watched the promotional video over a hundred times. Getting to create rangoli with the GSL students was a dream come true. India has been full of contrast and color. From the LED chandelier in the Temple of Shiva, to markets of pomegranates, mangos, pani poori, balloons, and spices, we have fallen in love with all the dynamics of this beautiful country and can’t wait to see what Agra and Jaipur have to teach us. Every day is a new blessing from this scholarship, and I couldn’t be more grateful for this adventure.
– Experimenter Ryan