For the last few weeks, the upcoming school trip had been the only topic at my school, Nittur Aided Higher Primary School.
All the kids were excited and the teachers were making plans. After considering all possibilities, the teachers and our headmaster decided to go on a one-day trip to Mangalore. One day isn’t a very long time, but the teachers really tried and succeeded in planning a day full of exciting activities.
In order to make the most out of this trip, our day started fairly early. The time to rise and shine was 5:30 am since we had to be at school by 6:30 am sharp. At this time, there weren’t any buses available; therefore, we had to walk. Most of the students and teachers had already gathered at school – children from 3rd Std all the way up to 7th Std with whom, after checking the name list and getting on the bus, we left the school close to 7 am.
The bus was quite cozy since 58 students and about 15 teachers were sharing a considerably smaller number of seats. My idea of catching up on my sleep was quickly dismissed and the music was turned up. Our bus transformed into a big party with students and our headmaster dancing in the aisle, having the time of their lives. Dancing on the bus is not without risks and every bump on the road nearly made us all fall, but it was definitely worth it.
To me, it had seemed only like a few minutes of driving when we reached our first stop – Mangalore Airport. The airport is up on a hill and we had a very nice view, but our attention was not on the landscape. Right next to the airport was a nice lookout where we could watch the planes landing and taking off. I think for most of the students, it was the first time seeing an airplane so close and even for me, having been on an airplane many times, it was very exciting. Our headmaster talked a little about planes so that the children would also learn a few new things. There, we also had breakfast – idli, sambar, and chutney while watching the planes descend from and ascend into the sky.
Afterwards, we got back on the bus to drive to our next stop. After only a few minutes, we reached the Nandini milk factory (Karnataka Co-operative Milk Producers’ Federation Ltd.), where we had a short tour through the production lines. All the machines were filling plastic bags with different milk products such as milk, curd, sweet lassi or buttermilk. There were also big milk tanks and a few workers were making sweets. The best part of the tour, however, was the sweet lassi or buttermilk everyone received for free. The plastic bag filled with its sweetened liquid seemed a little strange to me since in Germany liquids are never put in plastic bags but rather in glasses or boxes. It was a fun experience to drink directly from the bag.
Without further waiting, it was time to get back on the bus, and to the next stop. After all the technology, it was time for a cultural program, so our next stop was a church. There we sat a few minutes in silence and visited the Infant Jesus Shrine.
Since it was getting close to noon, our next stop was the Kadri Manjanath Temple. There, we visited the shrine and the big Hanuman statue, and afterwards, enjoyed the free lunch and some ice cream.
Finally, we were on our way to the Manasa Amusement and Water Park, where the next few hours were spent having even more fun. The many water slides were an exciting activity for the children and some teachers also joined us in the water. As everyone was enjoying themselves so much, our headmaster decided to prolong the time in the Water Park and just spend less time in the remaining places.
Therefore, the time at the science museum was cut short and we had to hurry, which was quite sad since it was one of the best museums I have been to. It is explicitly created for children and the knowledge is presented in interactive, creative ways. There were many cool experiments for the children to try and interesting facts, but adults could also still learn a lot of new things.
The Pilikula Nisargadhama (Pilikula Biological Park) was already closed by the time we left the museum, but that didn’t stop us and the headmaster arranged for us to still go inside. Therefore, we had the entire biological park to ourselves and no one blocked the view. We got to see the cheetahs, lions, the Bengal tiger, and many other animals.
After a day full of activities, I was glad to be back on the bus and already half asleep, though once again, the music was turned up and the sleep soon forgotten. Students and teachers alike were dancing in the aisle and enjoying every second of this special day.
It was truly a day that won’t be forgotten any time. It was one of the most exhausting and amazing days of my stay in India and a good way to get to know my colleagues and students better.