Maria meets the students at Rise Up School
Below is an email from Maria sent from India:
So we have arrived in Bodhgaya! Our trip was eventful. We drove from Agra to Tundal in late afternoon after visiting the Red Fort (Agra Fort) and little Taj Mahal. Red Fort was a huge fort made of red stones as well as white stone (marble) and hand crafted with jade and many other stones. It was the place where many ruled the country from many centuries. In fact we learned that the grandfather of Mahal used to ruled from there until his son took him out. Another site is that he was buried in what is called baby Taj Mahal, the original inspiration for the one we know today, the Taj Mahal (which is the tomb for his grand daughter!)
Well…as I said it was eventful, there was a big accident that was not very nice to see and Jesse was shaken by it (I decided not to look) We made it to Tundal and had to wait for about 5 hours at the station! IT was crazy, we actually found a little store/dinner to hang out. Not quiet the nicest place but better than other places. We played cards most of the time and when it was time to head out we laughed realizing we still have it in us to kill time by playing games in our travels. Brought us back many memories and lots of laughs! Not to mentioned that it kept me focus on that game rather than the noises we kept hearing that we could not figure out…were they all the parrots that we living and flying on the ceilings or the rats roaming around??? hummm…like to think the first!!!
We got on our sleeper and met the cutest couple that share the sleeper room with us. They were so nice and made sure that the next morning we knew which station to get off at. Here they don’t announce what station is next, you have to guess and hope you make the right stop!
So we got off in Gaya, which is about 18 Kilometers from Bodhgaya, where the school is. Like Sheri told us, you don’t want to hang out there! It is not a place to hang out but once we got to Bodhgaya, it is totally different. Here they say is where Buddah was enlightened and you can see the mountains/caves where history says he lived for 6 years in meditation. So everything is name after one of Buddah’s names! The funny thing is, is that 90% of the town is strongly Hindu. The little city is lush, lots of little nurseries and gardens where they grow vegetables, herbs for their dishes and for medicine. I have not yet seen this in India until yesterday! Our guest home is comfortable, clean and the people are so nice! Everywhere we go people are so friendly and take you right into their community! We have made lots of friends.
So far few locals saw the sticker of Rise Up on our laptop and they commented that they also know of a Rise Up school here. They had no idea we are the same and their comments were that it is one of the best school here in this area. Form our research not even 5 years ago, the government was not doing a good job taking care of kids and their schooling. So when the school was founded, it was the only thing available. Today all casts can go to school but still treated accordingly and the schools have much to work to do in improving many things. So the Rise UP school stands out as one of the best thing that could have happened for the kids around here. This was so good to hear, especially when they had no idea who were are connected with. Many claimed that kids are loved and treated well there!!!
Ahmed and his buddy
So after our breakfast, we walked across the river right to the school. They were waiting for us, Indian style…garlands and petals!!! I felt as if I was a queen or something, how I was welcomed! Immediately we felt in love with the kids. How can you not??? The school is well built, clean and organized. We got to spend the whole day with them. I got to sit on one of the classes that were working on Hindi and English grammar and was asked to help the teacher correct the work they were doing….did well with the English and I think they did translate from Hindi right since almost all had the same sentences!! I was very impressed with their calligraphy/printing! The teachers have done a great gob!! Coming from my teacher’s view, I have to say I am very pleased! We had lunch with the 7 orphans boys that live at the school. They were very well mannered and happy to be with us! Today we also met after school with staff and had a great talk, head their needs and concerns and I have to say they love the kids and are making sacrifices to teach there.
After the meeting with staff we got to hang out and play games with the orphans and waited for the other 2 orphans to arrive that are in high school. They were so fun, loving and well mannered! They taught us this game that they are good at and kept winning…I am determined to get more practice tomorrow after school … it is really fun playing with them. Jesse and I kept talking on how we see ourselves teaching it to our kids and making it another fam game!
After school we heading back to the guest house by bicycles!! They gave us one to each and told us to use them while we are here. I have to say that was so much fun!! Granted I did not have any brakes and all I could hear was honking behind me from cars and motorcycles warning me that they were passing me and and I need to move to the side! We had lots of fun doing this.
Tomorrow we will be at the school very early for we got much work to do! We are taking lots of pics and soon we will be able to show them to you.
Rise Up Clothing, LLC
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