Sunday, 24 March 2013


Week 3 of the Book Bus India pilot project is over, which means we are 50% of the way through. Time is really flying by and the pupils and teachers are becoming used to the sight of the yellow shirted volunteers and our methods of working.

Surendra at school
Here in Rajasthan we are staying about 15km outside the city of Jodhpur, in a place called Mandore at the Mandore Guest House. It is a great place to be based, a welcoming oasis of calm that has quickly become home. It is thanks to the owners that our project has been successful so far and so well received in the village communities. Surendra and Raj Gehlot started this guesthouse 23 years ago with just 2 rooms, they are pioneers of tourism in this area, but much more than that they have been involved in social development programs for years. They are both  very well connected and highly respected men in the area. It is through their connections that we have started working at the the 5 villages and have been so well received in the communities. Before we arrived Surendra had laid the foundations for this Book Bus India Program and during the first week he accompanied us to each school introducing the project to the communities and vice versa, ensuring the program could run smoothly. Raj has looked after our every need at the Guest House and is always on hand, making us feel part of the family. They are passionate about helping people living in the rural areas and are always keen to see what we are teaching and discuss our day’s experiences. 

We are extremely fortunate to have an honorary project manager, in Surendra, here in India with so much passion and experience, helping this project to be a success.  He is also a fountain of knowledge about local customs and traditions

Each day we are driven to school by Surendra's son Sanjay, another person who is well known and respected in this area. It is of great benefit to have him working with us. He helps to ensure that things are running smoothly at school, where he is more than happy to join in with our activities. He is always on hand to answer questions, show us the local villages, translate and teach us useful words of Hindi. He is an integral part of our team, without whom we wouldn’t have such a vivid experience or so much fun.

This week we have been teaching about parts of the body, with the youngest we read and danced the Animal Bop, sang an interactive version of one finger, one thumb and they made birds by drawing round their hands, which they loved. With the older students we made flashcards and played the game where you have stickers with parts of the body and you have to stick them on a person, this caused great amusement. The children are so willing to learn and keen to participate in everything. They are relishing the small group work, the access to the books and materials and the attention of the volunteers.