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Day 5: Last Day in Walchandagar and back to Mumbai

By Tisha Jain

May 5, 2023

Today was a bittersweet day at the camp. We all got up early to pack our luggage, and decided to wear Michigan shirts today.

Upon reaching the school, we were met with a pleasant surprise as the students from the academy welcomed us with an Indian dance, Garba, as we made our way to the stage. Today was also Buddha Purnima, Buddha’s Birthday, and we started the valedictory function with lighting candles.

After that, we were treated to some really beautiful performances put on by the students, from a Bharatnatyam dance, to singing to heart touching speeches recounting our days in the summer camp. The principal then gave us a really touching speech about how much fun the children had and all the memories created we had together created. By the end of this, some of us had begun to tear up.

After the presentations, we, the SWE members did our own performance. We first sung the national anthem together on stage, followed by the Victors song. We presented the School with a bridge we had built during our stay here, as a symbol of our connection and bridging the American education system and the Indian education system.

As parting gifts for the students, we brought gave out American candy (Scoobys, HiChews) to them. We also went to the principal’s office to sign the Bharat Children’s Academy guest book. I noticed that there were signatures back from old SWE members who had done this trip before ours!

We eventually went back to the guest house to pack up and leave to catch our train to Mumbai. The staff at Walchandnagar Industries had worked really hard these past few days to make us comfortable.

We all initially came to India hesitant, and uncertain about how this trip would turn out. And now, we are leaving the summer camp successfully completed, but with heavy hearts. I found it really difficult to say goodbye to all the students after getting to know them so well this past week. And I could tell they felt the same way too. I will forever be grateful to have been a part of this opportunity and help the Walchandnagar community in whatever way I could. I am already ready to come back here next summer!

We now begin our travels around the rest of India, starting with Mumbai. We all our excited for this part of the trip, as we fondly look back to the memories we made this past week at BCA. We will definitely be keeping in touch!

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