An experience of a lifetime…

Okay, so we all know that camping is always fun. But this particular weekend camp to Kenchanpalya came as a pleasant surprise. Kenchanpalya, one of project areas of CSA, is one of the locations for CSA Volunteers camps. And after attending the camp, it’s easy to see why.

The trip from college to the camp site was fairly jolly with lots of song and laughter in the bus. But once we reached our serene, beautiful destination, it was difficult not to be struck by how different it was from Bangalore, whose hustle and bustle we had all become accustomed to . Hardly an hour’s journey, but it was like being miles and miles away. A feeling, that was enhanced by the experience of being welcomed by a very friendly donkey during the short walk to our dorms.

Once we had settled in, we were given a briefing about CSA’s work in Kenchan Palaya, its future plans for other areas, SHGs etc. After this, we were shown the facility that had been set up for the local people,particularly women, to earn money by stitching. This was followed by a session by Komala, one of the four participants of the exchange programme with Sund Folk College in Norway, regarding their experiences in Norway. Then there was the session held by Boopalan, another participant, about the education system in Norway. Which, inevitably, led to an intense discussion regarding the education system in India, what was wrong with it, and what could, perhaps, be solutions to it.

Komala taking a session

Then of course, came the fun part! First, there was the really good food. And then, there was dancing around the campfire, with a DJ’s voice cheering us on in the background, and the dogs occasionally trying to join in the fun. After that, we all did the CSA’s customary song and dance, and also the Norwegian folk dance, an exhilarating experience, going round and round in circles, laughing and getting the steps all wrong at first. Finally, the night’s fun and excitement came to an end with a song by one of CSA’s very own rappers, after which we all retired to bed.

The next morning, we all woke up fairly early, and set off on a walk around the area. We saw all kinds of animals during that one short walk around the farm. Then we returned to have breakfast, which we had sitting around on the swings and see-saws on the camp site. No need to mention that we also played on them .

A few more sessions by the participants of the exchange programme, and then it was time once more for recreation. While the others hung around having lunch and chatting away, a small group of us were back on the dancefloor, with the local children joining in enthusiastically. They were also part of the numerous fun, crazy games that followed, with each team trying to outdo their opponents.

Then, it was finally time to pack our bags and return, but not before a hundred photos were taken – in all kinds of photogenic and not-so-photogenic poses, but we were all smiles, or rather, grins. And then, we were back in the bus, on our way back to college, singing or chatting away with the new friends that we had made.

The Kenchenpalya Campers 🙂

Perhaps, it’s no surprise that the CSA office received several impatient queries in the following days, as to when the next camp would be. 

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