Connecting with Gandhi by Ishaan Koradia and PJ Lobo
Ishaan: During our time in Ahmedabad, we had the opportunity to visit students at the Mahatma Gandhi International School (MGIS). While we had no idea as to what activities we were going to be doing with them, we were excited to meet Indian students that were the same age as us. As we got off the bus, we saw a woman at the gate who looked very happy to see us, as well as a couple of students including one who was taking pictures of us as we were walking in. It sort of felt like we were getting celebrity treatment, which made for a very interesting welcome. One of the teachers then showed us to a room full of kids. We saw them talking, even fighting amongst themselves. But when we got in, the students all stopped talking and got out of their seats. They greeted us with a traditional greeting where they put a bindi on our forehead and gave us a leaf.
After our welcome, we had an “icebreaker” activity that allowed us to meet some of the students and walk around the school’s campus. After that activity, we all got on the bus to go to the Gandhi Ashram, and PJ will take it from here.
PJ:In order to reach the Ashram, we drove out in a big school bus with a bunch of high schoolers. At first I was a little intimidated by how many there were, but me, being my outgoing self, quickly struck up a conversation with them. Since it was the first day, we just started to know how their everyday lives are and what they do for fun. Being on the bus reminded me a lot of being with my own classmates.
The Gandhi Ashram was a very interesting experience. I was a little confused on what we were doing at first because they teachers and kids just assumed that we know where we were going. Once we figured out where we were, we had a much more pleasant time.
Once we got back to the school, we all went into the auditorium. We were assigned groups and introduced to our Martin Luther King/Mahatma Gandhi mosaic project. Our task for the day was to brainstorm what our mosaic looked like and what art supplies we would use.
All in all, this was a great opportunity to meet and engage with the MGIS students and see how their time in school is not so different from ours in the U.S.!
Ishaan and PJ are two of 8 students in Indiaspora’s inaugural HeritageINDIA Program. A unique, immersive, 3-week summer program, this initiative gives high school students of Indian descent the opportunity to connect to their ancestral homeland. Students experience and engage with India’s rich and diverse cultural history by completing hands-on projects, participating in stimulating discussions, and building friendships with a cohort that will share in this once-in-a-lifetime experience. With the exciting theme of India’s Riches: History, Culture, Diversity, & Democracy, students visit three areas of India that are geographically and culturally diverse, yet all very much represent India: New Delhi, Gujarat, and Kerala.