Our First Day
8th July 2016
First day in India and 21 pupils and four teachers were welcomed at Delhi airport with garlands. It was then in to the City Centre to our hotel and during the taxi journey was where the first glimpse of poverty was seen. There was only time for a quick rest before heading for lunch and then to Fabindia for our Indian clothes. Remarkably some of the girls were able to finish their shopping before the majority of the males.
Just before an early night we had a little time to reflect on our first full day and among the comments made where “I got quite annoyed when young children came to the side of our cars begging” , ”Even though I know how much good work Saphara will do I can’t help feeling for these poor children” and “It is amazing to see how the affluent people in the city will ignore the poor people”.
Early start tomorrow, Saturday to visit the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. The pupils will be writing the blog from now on so tune in tomorrow for that and many fantastic pictures.
Sweat Not Wet
9th July 2016
Everyone loves the beckoning call of Dominic at 5–30am. After a good night’s sleep we wearily put on our new Indian threads. The hotel had provided a breakfast buffet for us including omelettes, cereal, bananas and toast. We also met our final leader Joanne who joins us for the trip.
Following this we were loaded on to our bright orange bus and set off to Agra to visit the famous Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. Stopping for drinks at the Trident Hotel was a much needed treat after the four hour drive from Delhi to Agra. We met our guide Vishal at the hotel and he showed us around the Taj Mahal first. We were blown away by the stunning beauty of the white marble and intricate detailed temple. Vishal educated us on the magnificent story behind the Taj Mahal where Emperor Shah Jahan met his wife Mumtaz at a market. They fell in love and were married for 20 years having 14 children. However when having the 14th child Mumtaz became ill and asked Shah to do three things; not to marry again, to look after the children and to build some place beautiful where she was to buried. Hence Shah decided to build the Taj Mahal.
As Rihanna would say, you can stand under my umbrella. Except in our case we didn’t bring them off the bus as Vishal said we wouldn’t need them but he was fooled by the angelic Agra sky and high temperatures. But we should have known better, it is monsoon season after all. The team jumped into a minibus and something which resembled an elongated golf cart in a rush to escape the rain. Now this rain makes our rain back home look like a drizzle. A bad decision and an open window actually made Dylan jump into the passenger seat instead of the driver’s seat for once. Only a lucky few escaped a complete drenching as water flowed from everywhere into the both modes of transport! Once we finally made it to our own bus we had reflections on the clothes picking process in Fabindia in Delhi. We were advised to think how are clothes would look as we sweated during the heat of the day but non of us considered how they would look in the soaking wet. Hence the title of this blog (I guess you had to be there).
We headed back to the Trident Hotel absolutely soaking wet looking forward to a 3 course lunch. The hotel staff were so welcoming and gave us all towels to dry off. We were advised by the staff that it was the first serious monsoon rains of the season. How lucky or unlucky were we? Lunch was a wide variety Indian foods which all went down a treat including Dal, Paneer and an Indian Butter Pudding.
We then negotiated the crazy Saturday afternoon traffic and made it to Agra Fort and we all made sure we had our umbrellas with us. Agra Fort is the only fort in India were all the Mughal emperors lived. Vishal gave yet another informative tour pointing out various luxuries enjoyed by the emperors as well as the almost impregnable defences. Approximately 80% of the fort is still used by the Indian defence forces today.
It is safe to say that we were all extremely tired after such a long day. We arrived back in Delhi for a much needed shower and sleep in preparation for the train journey to Mussoorie tomorrow. We hope you are all well and not missing us too much and we would like to wish student team member Erin McLoughlin a big happy 20th birthday!
Lots of love Rebecca and Bróna xx
Journey of a Lifetime
10th July 2016
Again we had another early start like our previous days in Delhi. We were woken up to the rapid fire knocking of Dominic outside our room and had to get ready for the 6 hour train journey to Dehradun from Delhi train station. We eventually boarded our carriage and were pleasantly surprised by the air conditioning as we were sweating from our prolonged time in the heat outside. Eventually our train set off and this marked the first major step towards our time teaching in India. The journey felt like it had taken forever, and it did. But we had plenty to talk about and to do en route to Dehradun. We spent most of our time working on our personal entries in our journals which are starting to fill up fast due to the sheer amount of detail being written in them, especially the day before when we visited the Taj Mahal and Agra Fort. The views we had ranged from beautiful views of the grass green Indian fields and the run down slums which had hit everyone as we never expected them to be as bad as they were. But after a few more hours of talking and spending a good hour getting sorted out into our teaching groups we finally arrived in Dehradun. We lunched once again in the salubrious surroundings of McDonalds.
After lunch we made our way to the Inderlok Hotel where we met up with the East West Saphara team who were able to supply us with a top ten tips for teaching the kids in our respective classes tomorrow. We could really sense their enthusiasm and new found confidence in their ability to teach. They made sure we knew that they were very jealous of us being able to start our teaching experience from scratch tomorrow morning and their helpful advice and enthusiasm only raised our excitement.
We then headed off on what would be one of the most amazing journeys we would all experience as we climbed the winding narrow roads up the side of the Himalayan foothills. The views were spectacular. On arriving at the Hotel Himalayan Club Musoorie, we spent some time finalising our lesson plans for tomorrow and after a beautiful Chinese dinner and some reflections followed by a spot on impression of Stavros Flatley by David and Dominic we headed to bed excited to commence our first ever teaching session in the morning.
Hope everyone at home is having fun with their well deserved two weeks of peace and quiet about the house and see you in two weeks time.
Sam and Michael
The Teaching Commences
11th July 2016
We were thrilled to know that our wakeup call wasn’t until 7am this morning (which is worrying to think that this is a lie–in for us these days). We woke up to a clear mountain sky with stunning landscape. As per usual the breakfast consisted of omelettes, toast, cereal and the best bananas you ever did have.
Our journey to Kaplani was a winding mountain road in the foothills of the Himalayas which was an amazing experience in itself. Shortly after we arrived we were greeted with the whole school assembly on the playground. This assembly consisted of the Jana Gana Mana – the Indian National Anthem which they all sang perfectly, a prayer, a reading of the news from a girl from class ten who spoke in both Hindi and perfect English and finally the school anthem. Dominic then spoke on behalf of team and was translated by one of the female teachers from Kaplani.
I was lucky enough to have the first period free to complete final preparations for our first lesson. I had two lessons back to back to prepare for along with my teaching team for class 7 which are aged 11. The first lesson was English where we focused on learning the children’s names and forming questions and full answers about the area in which they live. As this was our first day of teaching, we really didn’t know what to expect in relation to the level of English the children could understand or even the number of pupils that would be in the class. This was certainly a challenge when planning for the lesson, however we couldn’t have hoped for a better response from the children. Our team focused on making our lessons fun and interactive for the pupils and were thrilled with how we were able to improvise when the children didn’t understand the English we were speaking.
Our second lesson was personal development or PD as it is commonly known within the Saphara team. In this lesson we focused on the question ‘what makes a good team?’ This is a really important lesson for the children in Kaplani as we quickly recognised the reluctance for girls and boys to mix and work well together. Therefore this lesson also proved to be very successful and really fulfilling to observe the children working together in some team building games we had included in our lesson. Again the team were able to adapt the lesson to the ability of the pupils in our small group. As the four children in my group were quite advanced in their English we were able to make up a song on the spot to help the children remember the characteristic and importance of respect within a team.
Once lunchtime came around we were able to join with the children outside the classroom environment to have some more fun and games. We were taught some songs the children sang and, I know my dad and brother will be pleased to hear, that we also had great fun singing Will Grigg’s On Fire (which was very funny seeing lots of Indian children dancing to football chants). Finally we had our maths lesson, which in my case I was dreading due to my lack of ability in the subject, however seeing the excitement on the pupils faces when we got to use different types of balls to measure how high they bounce made it all the more worth it. Again we found that using songs was a really effective way to help the children learn the trickier parts of the lesson.
Hi Dillon here, I finally grabbed the laptop off Ruth. Today I was teaching class 8 who were aged 13 to 15 as some were held behind a year so were older than the others. When I arrived at Kaplani I had a free period where I and my teaching team were able to put some last minute touches to our first lesson which was an English class. I mainly focused on learning the children’s names and a bit about them as well as teaching them how to answer in full sentences instead of one word answers. This took some time as some of the children wanted to take the easy option and try their luck.
We mainly focused our lesson plans around different activities and to keep the children excited (not that they needed any help with that). Our next lesson was divided by a free period which gave us some breathing room to make sure everything was going as smoothly as possible. This lesson was the Maths lesson which I was excited for as we were doing an experiment which involved dropping a variety of balls and seeing how high each of them bounced back up. The children really enjoyed this as they had made predictions on how high each of the balls would bounce back up.
After this class the children had their lunch and then came back up to the playground where some were playing a variation of games and singing songs and others were playing cricket. They invited me to play along with them which were an offer that I couldn’t turn down as I was eager to show them how bad I really was (I must say I exceeded at this). When lunch was over I had another free period before I started the final lesion which was personal development. This lesson I thought was an overall success but was harder as we had the children read out a story which some were able to read perfectly but others were not so good. In the end we got through it all by everyone working together to help others out, which was ironic as the main focus of this lesson was teamwork and how to be a good team and how working together as a team will help you achieve things you couldn’t on your own.
After a strenuous day of teaching at Kaplani we were so lovingly treated to a team trek around the neighbouring village of Mussorie. However this was so worth it when we saw the breath taking view of the rural foot hills of the Himalayas (not a bad choice of destination Dominic). After this we had some time of our own which we spent playing card games (using Sam’s cards which had famous poetry quotes on). We then had time to plan our three lessons for tomorrow which we will keep confidential for the sake of tomorrow’s blog #NoSpoilers. Our dinner consisted of traditional Indian curry but don’t worry parents no cases of Delhi belly reported yet. After this we had our team reflection where we each shared some things that we were struggling with during the trip and some things which we were really enjoying. This turned out to be quite an emotional time for the team filled with both laughter and tears as people shared funny moments they experienced of the face to face encounters with the poverty of this environment or vulnerability out of our comfort zones. We both feel this was a really successful day both in teaching and in the support we felt within the whole team. Much love is sent from all team members back home. We are all safe and healthy and really loving this experience.
Dillon Morgan and Ruth Steenson.
A Glorious Twelfth
12th July 2016
Today was fantastic as Dominic let us have our second lie in of the week (bliss). We ventured the winding roads of the Himalayas in the back of Surrender’s jeep once again for our second day in Kaplani. Sadly today we experienced the first full rainy day on our trip. It was more miserable than David’s singing in the front of the taxi. Everyone got straight into teacher mode and we each taught three very successful lessons which built on the foundation we laid yesterday. The children here are just so enthusiastic to learn. For many of them the English we are teaching is in fact their third language. Many pupils can even get their tongues around Maéve and Orlaith’s names. The rain today had one benefit as we were able to go to our classrooms at recess and be taught traditional Indian dance by our pupils. I think is an experience none of us will ever forget.
We returned to the hotel for some bread, butter and crisps (sadly Tayto cheese and onion is not available in the Himalayas, who would have thought?) Dominic then took us on a ‘short’ walk to practice for our upcoming trek to Donk. Will keep you updated with our progress. We then came home and got straight back into planning for tomorrow’s lessons despite feeling tired. We then had Indian for dinner and it was greatly enjoyed and scoffed by all.
Our choir rehearsal then commenced for Thursday’s Assembly. As a group we are performing a mash–up of ‘Bridge over troubled water and Fix you’. The manager of the hotel heard us and thought we were outstanding. We have a few bits to iron out but are looking forward to performing it. Next on Gráinne’s list of the best things to do in the Himalayas was a quiz and Sanjay’s Boys (featuring Maéve, Conor, Dylan, Laura, Dillon) took the crown. We are taking assembly in the morning and singing ‘His Banner Over Me is Love’.
Laura and Maeve
Teaching, Singing and Quizzes
13th July 2016
The day started with another early wakeup call at around seven. We enjoyed a breakfast of cereal, toast omelettes and even more bananas. For the first time we had fantastic views of the hills and David took an early morning team photo. In the taxis on route to Kaplani we encountered more cows than we had seen so far. On arrival at Kaplani we where greeted by the smiles on the children’s faces as we entered the school. It was nice to see that they had begun to learn our names as we entered our classes.
We then took part in assembly, in which Brittany read out the thought for the day and Cameron read out the news of the day. We also sang an action song ‘His Banner Over Me’ for the kids, which they really enjoyed. The early morning heat quickly turned to mist and fog as the morning progressed and we began our classes.
It was good to see the children’s progression and everyone growing in confidence with teaching.
At lunch we had the opportunity to see the kids of the local primary school get their mid day meal which Saphara finances. It was great to see the excitement on their faces as they were given their portions of rice and dal for the day. We then all got to see the Irish Freddie Flintoff also known as Rory Horder in action live in the play ground as he hit sixes like they were going out of fashion. It really was a pleasure to witness a true pro in action. However, the Kaplani boys were outstanding at one of their national games.
We really enjoyed our third day teaching at Kaplani and continue to be impressed with the eagerness of the pupils to learn new things. After lunch we had around an hour of greatly appreciated free time in which we took the opportunity to relax and talk about our days teaching.
“Unfortunately” it was raining too heavily to go for a walk so we started to plan our final presentations for tomorrow a little earlier than normal. However this took quite a long time as we wanted our planning and preparation to be perfect for the last day we will spend at Kaplani. Generally this went without incident until Laura seemed to lose control of her arms and covered both herself and several surrounding objects in shiny silver glitter paint.
This was followed by our singing practice lead by David. We sang our rendition of ‘Bridge over Troubled Water’ and ‘Fix You’ and believe that this will please the pupils at Kaplani tomorrow.
After dinner we had a quiz hosted by quizmaster Gráinne who clamped down hard on the obvious over enthusiasm from the teachers table and Emma Rose in particular. Once the teachers had all calmed down we could finally start the quiz. We cannot believe that tomorrow will be our last day in Kaplani H.S. We are looking forward to the presentation tomorrow and hope our individual classes are able to showcase what they have learnt.
Conor and Jordan
14th July 2016
Today was our final visit to Kaplani School and the school day started with a rehearsal of each class’s most exemplary piece of learning for the showcase after recess. The excitement mounted in each room as the final touches were made, especially in Class 6, where there were gasps of admiration when the Class 6 teachers, Jordan, Jessica, Laura and Sam revealed their wall hanging. They had cleverly created a map, made from a recycled sheet of cloth and individualised paper figures representing each child and his/her village. Most poignantly, the map provided a visual illustration for the Saphara Team of the distances travelled by the Kaplani pupils each day.
The showcase was a culmination of four days teaching and learning. It provided the Saphara team with an opportunity to highlight the application and dedication of the Kaplani pupils. Every pupil in every class participated through a combination of scripted interviews, interactive mathematical puzzles, role play and music.
The Saphara school team demonstrated their ability to impart quality learning and empower the young people of Kaplani School to deliver a beautifully rehearsed and inclusive presentation. They showed great energy in their rehearsals, real imagination and creativity in their choreography of their individual class pieces.
There was great laughter and admiration in the room. As their teachers, we felt proud of the Saphara team whilst simultaneously humbled by the welcome and warmth of the Kaplani staff and pupils.
Next, we were treated to Class 10 singing a selection of hymns accompanied by Mr Ajay on guitar, joined by Saphara members Lois, Ruth, Cameron, Sam, Lara, Bróna and Gráinne. A video of this can be viewed on the Saphara Facebook page. Our Saphara team then sang a rendition of the mash up ‘Bridge over You’ directed by our modest conductor, David.On behalf of the Saphara team Emma Rose and David gave thanks to MGVS and the Kaplani school community for their welcome, their enthusiasm and hard work over the past week.
To conclude, the Principal, Mr Noutiyal reflected on the continuing success of the relationship between Saphara and Kaplani School and proudly announced the excellent academic results achieved by the senior pupils.
We finished off a wonderful day with an evening full of laughter and games. Heading off to bed now safe in the knowledge that the parents of our team will be as proud of them as we are.
Gráinne and Jo
Last Day in Mussoorie
15th July 2017
Our wake up call was at 8am, the longest lie in yet! We had the usual for breakfast (lots of bananas) before meeting at our rendezvous point to continue our Global Development Weekend. We were given a talk by Mr. Surender Singh on the work he does with MGVS, where he is the overall coordinator, and how he develops the local community. We were then split into groups for activities based on how we would carry out the work that Surender does, for example, identifying the basic needs of the villages and who we would approach in order to carry out that work. Before Mr Singh left, we had the opportunity of a group photo with this truly inspirational person. We then did some role play on the story of River Babies (with some really weird accents and outfits) and how it applies to life in India. All of these activities formed part of our Global Awareness Weekend, which we will continue tomorrow when we have our Sunday morning ‘Happening’.
We had lunch at 12.30pm before beginning the task of packing as our shopping trip had been delayed due to heavy monsoon rains. We left the hotel at 2.45pm to go and have some retail therapy along the Mall. Everyone left in great spirits despite the rain and essential need for umbrellas due to the promise of a warm pizza at Dominos (yes there is an outlet 7,000ft up in the Himalayas).
When we arrived at the rendezvous point which established how far we were allowed to explore unaccompanied, we split off into our groups of strictly no less than 5. Everyone headed to Dominos straight away in anticipation of some variety in our daily meals with most of the boys buying portions for two #CouldHaveFedAnArmy.
After Dominos very satisfied we explored the streets of Mussoorie, most people buying small gifts for family (And Dylan an Arsenal shirt for himself at half price #BargainHunter). We met Dominic and the rest of the teachers at 4.30pm outside the Puma store (talk about globalisation) before travelling back up the many, many hills to our hotel looking like what could only be described as a bunch of wet and soggy teenagers (showers were taken).
After some relaxing free time and receiving our greatly anticipated washing, we had our usual Indian meal at 7pm. We then watched Slumdog Millionaire. Having spent 10 days in India, it’s fair to say that everyone had developed a new appreciation of life in India and how the culture really works, as before coming here, we had a different perspective of the country. Tomorrow we travel to Dehradun in preparation for teaching at SNEHA.
Love to all at home and best of luck to Arsenal in their pre–season preparations!
Dylan and Diarmuid
Down to Dehradun
17th July 2016
Today we began with The Happening before travelling to Dehradun. In The Happening we all said a mix of prayers, poems, song lyrics, and famous quotes. Everyone expressed themselves in one form or another and it was quite an emotional experience. It was beautiful and was wrapped up with Brittany’s heart warming letter.
The trip down from the Himalayas was an experience and as we descended the winding roads we hadn’t quite grasped how high up we had been for the past few days, and the sudden reality of our height had suddenly dawned on us. With the expert driving of our taxi drivers, we survived the many ventures of the Himalayan roads.
Shortly after settling into the beautiful Inderlok Hotel, with its grand entrance which slightly juxtaposed the surrounding area , we went to McDonalds on the Rajpur Road which was flooded due to the heavy monsoon rains we’ve had since early Friday afternoon.
We came back to the hotel and we began our lesson planning for SNEHA. The classes will be triple the size of Kaplani and we truly felt the challenge of preparation and new lesson styles.
We enjoyed some Indian cuisine in the beautiful hotel restaurant and had some good craic (all be it loud) over some of the most amazing naan bread you’ll ever have. The food was both a new experience and a big improvement of an old favourite ‘buttered chicken’.
After Supper we embraced planning for our personal development class tomorrow, and was followed by a reflection by Dominic offering wise words on the importance of success, failure and learning from mistakes.
We are looking forward to meeting the pupils at Sneha tomorrow. Cameron and Rory
18th July 2016
It was an early start again this morning, with a 7am wake up call. The tiredness was cushioned with the deluxe breakfast spread; however there was much dismay about the lack of bananas on offer! We then quickly piled (and we mean piled) into vikram’s. We arrived at Sneha full of nerves but equally as excited. The staff room was soon filled with balloons, masks and a few jungle animals. Once we entered the classroom our nerves quickly disappeared with the smiling faces of the children. Their enthusiasm and confidence was so refreshing! Although their ages range from 5–10 their English vocabulary was strong and they were a delight to teach. We had the joy of teaching The Very Hungry Caterpillar to class 1. Despite not delivering an Oscar worthy performance with our dramatisation of the story, the kids were eager to join in with the actions. We also taught them some basic phrases in English such as how to introduce themselves and tell us there age. To add to our non Oscar worthy performance, we belted out a note perfect rendition of ‘1,2,3,4,5 Once I Caught a Fish Alive.’
After our lessons with the younger pupils we had a conversation class with some of the senior pupils. We talked about the importance of teamwork and what qualities are required to be a good team member. We were thoroughly impressed with their English skills and their ability to sustain a conversation. We were also shocked at the amount of respect both the younger and older pupils gave us; this was shown as they addressed us as Ma’am and Sir.
After our last lesson we retreated to our second home (McDonald’s) #9ChickenNuggets. After McDonalds we went on a trip to the local book store were we bought some souvenirs (which most parents will see in the near future.) When we arrived back at the hotel we planned tomorrows lessons which consisted of painting and carefully constructing ‘A Very Hungry Caterpillar’ along with 70 butterflies.
We enjoyed a lovely meal at ‘Salt & Cravings’ finished off with a memorable brownie and ice cream! We will be up early again tomorrow for another day of teaching at Sneha and visiting the marginalised communities.
Lois & Ellen
A Letter from Jessica and Ciara
19th July 2016
After a peaceful and well–deserved eight hours sleep, the sound of the hotel buzzers pierced through the tranquil atmosphere of our bedrooms as Grainne did her morning wake–up call.
After our buffet breakfast we were ready for our second day in Sneha. We journeyed to Sneha a vikram tuck–tuck, a really exciting way to travel in India.
We began teaching class 1 all about “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” and developed the topic by doing a carousel exercise, some of which we did outside because of the heat in our classroom and in order to get some fresh air. We followed up this first lesson by doing art and craft based on the theme of the book.
We were taken into the slums in which the pupils live by some older students and Mr Nadesh. We saw houses smaller than our bedrooms – an extremely difficult sight to take in. However, seeing how proud the students were of where they lived and what they owned helped us to cope with the reality of the poverty we witnessed. We are all hugely grateful for the opportunity to see the community as it is.
When we got back to Sneha Dr Reeta eased our minds and made us realise that the work we’re doing is continuing to better the lives of the inspiring young people that we have met on this trip. We got the opportunity to ask her a range of questions which we had following our community visit.
All of the team taught very successful conversation classes with years 9–11. We began to feel that we communicating really well with the older pupils. Our theme today was ‘What makes our community strong’.
After lunch and an enjoyable hours rest, we began planning a display for our classes at Sneha. We will present these to our classes on Thursday during our celebration event. We had an early evening reflection, speaking about our individual experiences during the day, which proved to be a brilliant bonding session with the Saphamily (Saphara family).
We had an early Chinese for dinner which tickled our taste buds, followed by an intense game of ‘Mafia’.
Our journey in Dehradun is nearing completion and we will be heading back to Delhi on Thursday.
Love to all at home
Xoxo Jessica & Ciara
Memories are Made of This
20th July 2016
We were unable to go to school at Sneha today because of some local issue which affected the school and locality. We were disappointed but glad to know that are able to attend tomorrow for our final celebration. We had taught nearly all of the lessons we had prepared so feel really satisfied with the work we have done at Sneha. As things turned out we were so pleased to have today to prepare for our celebration. The Chief Minister is coming to Sneha tomorrow to see the work the children have been doing and we will have the chance to showcase our work.
After a wonderful long sleep and a more relaxed breakfast we spent the morning preparing displays based on the reading books we have used with classes one, two and three. One group wrote and illustrated two large A3 copies of ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Another created four large display panels of the work they had done on ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ and the ‘clock’. The final group were equally as creative and have produced a fantastic display based on ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’.
Each class has prepared a narrative to be spoken in front of the assembly of more than 1000 pupils, staff, and the honoured guest tomorrow. Our teachers, Emma Rose, Grainne, David and Joanne are going to speak at the assembly about their experience in such a wonderful school. We are so excited to be able to perform at the assembly tomorrow and wanting to be a good as possible spent a long time before dinner rehearsing. We are going to sing two pieces – ‘Bare Necessities’ from Jungle Book and a mash–up of ‘Bridge Over Troubled Water/Fix You’ which the NHS choir took to number one last Christmas. Our performance has the potential to eclipse him. We are delighted to be able to present Irish Dancing also. Diarmuid, Orlaith, Jessica and Maeve are dancing to the tune ‘Out of the Ocean/Mooney’s Jig’.
There were other elements to our rearranged but fulfilling day. The team (excluding teachers) had henna done this morning. Our team sat on the hotel lawn as three girls, who are pupils from Sneha, drew wonderful designs. Our girls had one hand done and the boys had their name put on their arm. Hopefully the designs will be still visible when we arrive home this Saturday afternoon.
We finished our day by making ‘Memory Books’ which we will fill in on our train journey from Dehradun to Delhi tomorrow afternoon. We are sure we will make more memories tomorrow as we celebrate and say goodbye to the wonderful pupils of Sneha school.
21st July 2016
This morning we woke up to the ‘mid packing bombshell scene’ that was our hotel room. We frantically stuffed the debris into our bulging rucksacks and headed for Sneha school. As usual the vikram rides were filled with sing–songs and crazy Dehradun driving. On arrival we headed for the staff room for a dress rehearsal before the celebration assembly began.
As we waited for our surprise guest to arrive, the legend himself Mr. Nadesh entertained us with some interactive songs which every teacher has resorted to at some stage in their career i.e. ‘If you’re happy and you know it’. Then we were treated to the junior classes display. This consisted of a traditional Indian dance. They were like little dolls dressed with red rosy cheeks and lipstick. Our special guest, the Vice President of the Congress Party arrived just in time for the senior girls’ showcase of a traditional dance from Nepal. They were dressed magnificently from head to toe with ornate saris, wrists filled with colourful bangles and even their ankles were decorated with silver jewellery. Let’s just say they put our rendition of ‘Jai ho’ dance to shame! Next was an act that surprised us all. A group of middle school girls and boys danced to ‘Wakka Wakka’. Their talent was simply incredible as they mixed Bollywood moves with modern hip hop in one spectacular performance.
This was a tough act to follow as the Saphara team got up to perform our first piece ‘ Bare Necessities’. The catchy tune really entertained our audience. Dr Reeta (the founder of Sneha) requested that we performed some Irish dancing in the showcase. Courageously Jess, Maéve, Diarmuid and I (Orlaith) stepped up to the challenge and we recreated moves from back when we danced together. Despite our feet being burnt off us from the scorching paving stones, the dance seemed to go down well with everyone. After that our final piece for the show, directed by the musical maestro David Doey commenced. Our last rendition of the ‘Bridge over troubled waters/ Fix you’ mix up was emotional yet delivered well.
Finally we had the privilege of presenting our hard work from yesterday to the children in our classes. We made our class three displays, an emotion wheel, a washing line of phonics and a landscape painting of the ‘We’re going on a bear hunt scene’ which Picasso would be jealous of. The children and teachers were so grateful for these gifts yet it was a fraction of the impact they had on us. Then the vice president of the congress party thanked Saphara for the support they have given to various schools over the years. Dr Reeta then made a heartfelt speech that touched us all individually and we’ll never forget the appreciation she showed us. Our beloved Mr Nadesh then surprised us all with an original poem called ‘The Difference’. It centred around the relationship between Saphara and Sneha. It’s amazing to think that the two copies that exist of this beautiful poem that one will remain in India whilst the other returns to Northern Ireland. What stole the show was a complete surprise, especially for us. We were called to the front with the entire Sneha staff standing beside us shaking with excitement and ready to dance together. We heard the faint whisper of a beautiful melody like liquid gold to our ears, the song which so perfectly reflected our culture to the audience, the children of Sneha, the ‘Cha Cha Slide’. It was something that had never happened before. The teachers of Sneha dancing for their pupils.This brought so much joy to everyone participating and the audience and it was such a pleasant way to end our time at Sneha. It was honestly one of the best moments of the trip seeing both halves of the team (the Indian teachers and the Down pupils 2016) coming together in one final celebration.
We said our final goodbyes and headed back to the hotel for lunch We had our last vikram ride to the railway station with one vikram holding the majority of our rucksacks, held in place by an assistant to the driver. We’re now safely on the six hour train journey back to Dehli, looking out on the various scenes of Northern India. This journey has been truly incredible and we would like to thank our team members, our Saphara teachers, and all our supporters for making this experience possible.
We are looking forward to seeing more of Delhi tomorrow and especially the Lotus Temple.
Much love, Ruth and Orlaith
22nd July 2016
It was hard to believe that it was almost two weeks since we had left Delhi and we were now having our final breakfast as a team in the hotel where it all started. A packed last day in Delhi was planned starting with a visit to the Lotus Temple. This is a Baha’i Centre. The Baha’i aspire to unite all world faiths under the umbrella of their teaching. The architecture of the temple reminds visitors of the Sydney Opera House and the inside is a place of tranquility and allowed us time to sit and be quiet after the hustle and bustle of our trip.
It was then back into the centre of Delhi for one final visit to McDonalds before the last minute shopping at the College Emporium. Before returning to the hotel the team treated themselves to afternoon tea in the plush surroundings of the Imperial Hotel.
A relatively short flight to Dubai left on time and the team is currently on a stopover due to board our final flight at 4am (home time). An approximate arrival back in Belfast is 3pm on Saturday. Parents, your son or daughter will contact you once we arrive in Dublin with a better approximation of an arrival time in Belfast.
I hope you have enjoyed reading our blog which we began on the 7th July as we departed from Dublin Airport. The two pilots on our outward flight to Dubai had their photographs taken with us on that occasion. The Captain said to me that the trip to India would be a fantastic opportunity for our young people. As I write my final reflection I have to say that the 2016 Down Team trip was fantastic for me also. I have had a great team of co–leaders with me, David, Emma Rose, Gráinne, and Joanne. They worked tirelessly to care for the team and to inspire them to be the best teachers that they could be. We had great moments of hilarity together and supported each other when we individually began to flag. I would like to thank them for their support and friendship.
To the Down Team I would like to say congratulations for being ‘the best’ in every way. This particularly showed itself when we had the disappointment of not going to Sneha School, Dehradun, for one of our scheduled days. Diarmuid so encouraged us when he proclaimed that ‘out of disappointment comes opportunity’. The whole team did wonderful and important work in all of the three schools we visited. The quality of teaching and display work met the highest standard set in my nine years of coming to India with Saphara.
Thank you to the whole team for being so easy to lead and for your willingness to help on so many occasions. Thank you for your honest and open sharing at reflections. You all know that I would like each of you to continue to reflect on your journey and allow it to transform your days and years ahead.
From the beginning of the trip I knew that emotions would be a big part of our journey, I was sad, happy, nervous and anxious through the trip. On the first day of teaching I didn’t know what to expect as I had never done anything like it before but when I was leaving I was happy as I knew that I had given it my best shot on that day and knew that I would be able to look back at it and do better for the next. When we were leaving Kaplani I didn’t quite know how to feel as I was happy with the work I had done but sad I had to leave them.
When we were teaching in Sneha I had similar feelings as before because of the fact that it was a new school with different pupils and I didn’t know what to expect, but by the end of the day felt conformable around them and didn’t feel any pressure. I was heartbroken to find out that we wouldn’t be teaching them again on after two days, but Dominic was looking at the glass half full and saw this as an opportunity to do something great for the school rather than doing nothing about it.
I really felt that I made a huge impact on the children that I taught as they always seemed so happy for us to come to their schools and letting us take over the classroom for a few days. Thank you to everyone who helped support me and helped to make this a ‘journey with purpose’.
Dillon Morgan St Patrick’s
Before coming on this trip I never pictured that India would have had as big an impact on me as it has had. I thought that I would just be teaching English in three schools but I didn’t consider what this experience would teach me about the world and also about myself. The pupils at Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA have left a lasting impression on me. Every child that I had the pleasure of meeting showed happiness, respect and enthusiasm in everything they did, inside and outside of the classroom. I hope that I can try to be more like them in everything I do and be more appreciative of everything that I have.
Seeing the poverty in India was a huge shock, it was far worse than anything I imagined. However, the great work that Saphara has been involved with has demonstrated that change is possible and that even one person can make a huge difference. Overall, I have had the most amazing trip, I have now got great memories of India, with the students at each school and also with the rest of the Down team who have been amazing teachers and friends on this journey.
Brona Starkey Assumption
I had heard from people on previous Saphara teams that this was a life changing experience; however I only fully grasped the impact that it would have on me when I began teaching in the first of the three schools. I have learnt so much from this trip and the impact that it has had on me is profound. It was a privilege to teach in all of the schools and I absolutely loved getting to know the pupils on a more individual level. Although we have taught valuable lessons and skills to the children of Kaplani, Donk and Sneha, they have also taught me so much. The children in all schools possessed admirable qualities such as enthusiasm, joyfulness and respect for both their teachers and fellow students. Their attitude and they way in which they view and value their education is definitely something that I will take from this trip and learn from.
When we arrived in Delhi the poverty became immediately apparent. I was particularly struck by the stark contrast between the wealthy and the poor. Later in the trip we experienced firsthand the harsh realities that students at Sneha face when visiting the marginalised community. This was an eye opening experience which has changed my perceptive on things.
Lastly, I just want to thank the teachers for giving up their summer to give us this amazing opportunity. This has been an incredible experience for me and I couldn’t have shared it with a better bunch of people!
Lois Tate Down High
This is an experience like no other; India has changed and developed me as an individual. I have loved teaching at the three different schools, Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA and for certain, the children that I have had the pleasure of meeting have had more of an impact on me than I will ever have had on them.
Every day of the trip brought new challenges which I enjoyed working through with the best team I could’ve asked for. I know the things I have experienced in the last 16 days, I will never have the chance to experience ever again but that is why Saphara is truly special. I would like to thank my team, the teachers involved and Saphara for giving me this opportunity.
Rebecca McLoughlin Down High
I have thoroughly enjoyed every second of my Saphara journey. The amazing enthusiasm, impeccable manners and sheer pride the students showed when displaying their work are only some of the millions of things I could list about what made my trip so special. I can whole–heartedly say that the days I have spent teaching in Kaplani, Donk and Sneha will hold some of the most cherished memories from my life.
Throughout the whole trip my emotions have fluctuated from day to day. The contrasts that are glaringly obvious in the India society are just non–existent at home. The extreme poverty and deprivation of many families became apparent within our first thirty minutes in the country and to be an on–looker to this throughout the whole trip was incredibly difficult but I feel through this and many other aspects of the trip I have become a stronger person.
I could not have imagined a more supportive, accepting and kind team to have ventured on this journey with and I know the friendships I have made will last a very long time. I would like to thank each and every individual on the 2016 Down Team especially the five teachers for their continuous hard work and for this incredible experience.
Lara McKenna Assumption
Saphara really has been some of most important days of my life so far. As soon as I landed in Delhi airport I knew that this was no ordinary trip; the immense poverty was immediately obvious and this only served as a motivator for the team to give their very best in teaching later on in the week. I really have never seen any group of individuals who have so little in terms of possessions but have so much in terms of manners, enthusiasm, happiness and eagerness to learn. I think everyone on the team has learnt so much from the kids at Sneha and Kaplani and it could be seen from the daily reflections that big changes were going on in everyone’s attitudes to the world we live in.
I loved forming relationships especially with the kids in my class at Kaplani and it really was hard to say goodbye. However despite having to leave, as Dominic puts it, “the other half of the team”, when leaving each school we always had the support of one another. Everyone on the Saphara team has been incredible and it has been fantastic getting to know every single individual.
The big realisation from this trip for me was that we are so sheltered from real poverty where we live; without going out of our way we barely see it. However this experience wasn’t just about going to witness poverty, it was about going and trying to make a real difference by inspiring the young generations by showing them through words and actions that they are valued and that they have huge potential. I really feel blessed to have been part of this work and I would recommend that no one misses the opportunity to do something like this in their lives.
Michael Harper Down High
Saphara has been an experience that I feel will change us all as people. From the first experience of Delhi I was truly shocked by the sheer poverty that there is in the world. Some people may think that they know of poverty but when you experience it yourself it has a profound and life changing effect on your life. I know for a fact that I will look at the world from a very different angle now as I have seen that back home we focus on such trivial things when in reality there is so much more that we could spend our time doing.
I could not write my final reflection without mentioning the rest of the team. Simply they have been amazing. Each and every one of them has put their all into absolutely everything that we have done in India. I honestly couldn’t have wished for a better group of people to go through this with. I know for a fact that I have made lifelong friendships and I am extremely proud to have played a part in what these amazing people have done. Each individual is honestly exceptional in their own right and I cannot wait to see what amazing things that many of them are destined to do in the future.
Finally, it is only right that the final word that I write on this blog page is dedicated to the children which we had the pleasure of teaching in India. I came out here with the impression that I would teach them…and that did happen don’t worry but in all honesty I feel that I have learned more from the kids than I could possibly have taught them. Their enthusiasm and love for education has been something which will live on in the memory. The kids at the schools are honestly some of the most inspirational people that I have ever met and I will never forget them.
Saphara is a fantastic organisation that I am very proud to have been part of and from what I have experienced over the past two weeks I can one hundred percent say that education is the way forward for these kids and thank you so much for the chance to experience truly remarkable trip with truly remarkable people.
Jordan Haslett Down High
Back in October when I was chosen to be on the Saphara team I couldn’t have imagined this trip would affect me this much. It has been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least but I can honestly say it has completely changed my whole outlook on life. The children we have met at Kaplani, Donk and Sneha are so intensely happy and willing to learn, even living in this extreme poverty. I will forever cherish the memories I have of these amazing children. I have learnt so much more from them than they could ever learn from me.
Saphara is an amazing organisation which shows that education is the root of change and we can really make a difference to the lives of these children if we teach them and show them that they are important, which is what we have all strived to do over the last 16 days. India has been a huge culture shock, from our first day here to our last, but seeing this poverty just encouraged us to put even more into our lessons.
My Saphara team has been incredible with their constant encouragement, support and kindness throughout the whole journey. Each individual on the team gave one hundred percent in everything they did and I have learnt a lot from them. I want to thank my team who I know I have made lifelong friendships with, and the teachers who have provided us with this incredible opportunity. This is the experience of a lifetime and I have shared the best time of my life with this team, so I would sincerely encourage everyone to get an opportunity to do something like this because you definitely won’t regret it.
Orlaith Gormley Assumption
Saphara has been a truly life–changing experience that has definitely broadened my horizons and developed me as a person. I have been immensely inspired by all of the kids we had the pleasure of teaching at Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA as well as numerous other key figures we have met during the trip, such as Dr Reeta. Travelling to the marginalised community to witness the conditions some of these kids live in was a humbling and eye–opening experience. Their enthusiasm, positive energy and incredible attitude encouraged each and everyone one of us to give our maximum effort in the lessons and planning. Their unique personalities will always remain with me.
I had the opportunity to come on this trip with a few best friends, but I will leave with many more. Everyone in the team became a unit on day one and worked exceptionally well together, never failing to provide each other with encouragement, support and a lot of laughs as well. I would like to thank you all for making this trip so enjoyable. I would also like to thank the teachers for giving up their time, allowing us to complete this incredible journey and develop as people. Finally, Saphara is an organisation that carries out incredible work that has a positive impact on the kids’ education and consequently provides them with a better future. I would strongly encourage anyone considering applying to be a part of a Saphara team to go for it, it will be the experience of a life time.
Dylan Fitzpatrick Down High
The past two weeks have flown by with our time on Saphara, we’ve packed so much into each day on the trip and no minute has gone to waste. Be it at Delhi, visiting the Taj Mahal and embracing the culture and history of India, to teaching at Kaplani, Donk and Sneha. I feel over the trip that we were given a great opportunity to help others, and also, to learn a little bit more about ourselves. This hasn’t been easy though, as very often (especially in Delhi) we were often faced with the two paradoxes of extreme wealth, and extreme poverty. However the trip in itself has been life changing as I’ve seen many of the people who initially joined up for Saphara flourish in working with children, to looking out for one another as if a big family.
Teaching in Kaplani was the highlight of my trip. It had its ups and downs, but it left me feeling both stressed about planning the lessons and attempting to carry them out working within the class groups we were in, with the addition of trying to improvise on the few occasions things didn’t go to plan in the classroom. It gave me a very balanced experience of teaching and has inspired me to consider it for later life.
Saphara has been a once in a lifetime opportunity for all of us on the trip, and I would encourage others to join and help wherever they can as Saphara doesn’t just give money to these children, it gives the skills to help people fend for themselves. As the saying goes “Give a man a fish, feed him for a day, teach a man to fish, and you’ll feed him for life.”
Cameron Herron St Patrick’s
All the people on the team and back home know that I could write an essay about my time with Saphara. It has been an absolutely incredible experience and I want to thank all of the teachers, Dominic and Christine for giving me the opportunity to embark on this adventure of a lifetime. I will cherish every moment I taught in the classrooms of Kaplani, Donk and Sneha but my most memorable experience was playing cricket with the Kaplani pupils during recess, I have never witnessed such talent in my sporting career.
Saphara has been a long 16 days that flew by so quickly. I was lucky enough to come to India with some of my best friends but I can honestly say I am leaving with 20 who are all such amazing and influential people. Everything that we have witnessed is indescribable and cannot be put into words and that is why the trip has made such a profound impact on all of us. I could not recommend applying for Saphara enough; it will change your outlook on life.
Brittany Hogan Down High
It is nearly impossible to describe my journey in India in just a short account as every single second of the trip was such a highlight for me and I could only describe it as the best opportunity I have been given. This trip allowed me to fully look at and actually appreciate teaching and from having the opportunity to teach in three schools during my time in India, Saphara has enabled me to recognise my love for teaching and my love for helping children and from this I really believe I would like to choose this as a future career path and I can only thank Saphara for this.
The adventures that we embarked on were incredible. Although the main focus was on the teaching, having the opportunity to visit the slums was definitely a picture in my head I will never forget. The last school that we taught in (Sneha) was particularly memorable for me as the Saphara team got to see some of the students’ houses which were described as shacks with only one room which would be for a family for 6 or even 8. That particular event hit me especially as although at home we are shown the extreme poverty in countries such as India, it is much more different and real in person walking into their home.
Another thing which I have learnt is that Saphara has enabled me to change myself and help me realise how to make a change and in what ways I would do so. I have honestly met so many amazing people and I have met 20 inspiring friends that have helped me every second on the trip and from being with my team, they have actually made my time so special and I know I will keep in contact with every single member and I honestly feel so lucky to be a part of the team. Lastly, to Dominic, Christine and all the teachers and members that are involved, every Saphara member appreciates how much time and dedication you put into the children’s lives and I personally find it so inspiring to see that and witness how the work every team has done has gone 100% into further enriching and benefitting the children. For anyone considering Saphara, it is the best opportunity you will have and it will put you out of your comfort zone in so many brilliant ways.
Maéve McCaffrey St Patrick’s
Saphara has given me the unique experience of offering an utterly unforgettable trip to an absolutely amazing country, while being able to meet some amazing people and forge lifelong friendships, and (for me) most importantly, has allowed every team member to create real, life–changing impacts of the lives of the children that we have been able to teach. Before coming on this trip I had no idea of the effect that teaching at Kaplani, Donk and SNEHA would have on either us or the children, but now I can undoubtedly say that teaching at these schools was the absolute highlight of the entire trip. I have never experienced anything as rewarding as helping the children build up their understanding of English over the course of the week, and I will treasure memories of each class that we taught for the rest of my life. It was incredibly humbling to witness the manners, enthusiasm and respect of these children and it has definitely given me much to think about when I return home.
I would like to thank from the bottom of my heart, all of the teachers that were involved in making Saphara a continuing success, and particularly Dominic and Christine; seeing first–hand what Saphara has achieved was extraordinarily inspiring, and I feel so lucky to have been part of this experience.
Rory Horder Down High
I can honestly say that applying for Saphara was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I had no idea going on this trip would make such an impact on me. Teaching in Kaplani, Donk and Sneha was so rewarding. The enthusiasm and smiles of the children is something I will never forget. Teaching class 10 in Kaplani has to be the highlight of the trip as Rory, Lara and I only had 9 pupils meaning we got to know them all on such a personal level and I have to say they are 100% the brightest and most amazing children I have ever met.
The group of 20 young people, most of which I didn’t know this time last year, have enhanced my experience greatly. The support we all gave to each other was a massive help and I feel so privileged to have met them. We also got loads of support from the teachers who were there with us and I really appreciate it. I would also like to thank everyone involved with keeping Saphara an ongoing charity.
Ellen Murphy Assumption
I can’t express how grateful I am to have been given the opportunity to become a part of the Saphara experience. The past 16 days have been incredible thanks to the inspiring people I have been so lucky to meet along the way.
Visiting India was a massive culture shock, but so worthwhile. The children I met at Kaplani, Donk and Sneha taught me so much with their infectious enthusiasm, happiness and love for life. I can honestly say I will never forget them.
The group of young people I was so fortunate to share this experience with made all the tough times easier from leaving the schools to visiting the marginalised communities.
I would like to thank all the teachers who cared for us over the past two weeks. They have been an incredible support to us all and I appreciate all the ongoing work they have been doing since the beginning.
Ciara McMullan Assumption
I think I speak on behalf of everyone when I say this has truly been an experience of a lifetime. Being completely immersed in such a diverse culture was just incredible. I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share this journey with! It’s hard to believe that within two and a half weeks with a group of teenagers all in constant company there was not one argument the whole time. We have all become such a close support unit for each other and I am confident that during this adventure we have formed friendships that will last a lifetime. This experience has been so eye–opening for me in many aspects; from becoming more thankful for what I have in life and not taking anything for granted, to having the upmost respect for my education and my teachers, considering I now know how much hard work goes into their lessons. I will always cherish the memories of the children from Kaplani, Donk and Sneha as they are easily the most influential factor of this trip. Their intelligence, enthusiasm and perfect manners impacted me beyond what words can describe. I am forever thankful for everyone who made this journey possible both financially and prayerfully and cannot recommend it more to anyone considering applying for next year’s team, it WILL change your life.
Ruth Steenson Down High
My time in India with the Saphara team can be summarised as unforgettable. Over the past sixteen days we have experienced so much in such a short period of time. We have seen so many amazing buildings such as the Taj Mahal, Agra Fort and The Lotus Temple but we have also seen the slums and visited some childrens’ houses from Sneha. It was very strange seeing a huge contrast in such a small distance. I can honestly say that this experience has been the most incredible journey and it truly is a once and a life time opportunity. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I can guarantee it has made a huge impact on all of our lives. The highlight of my trip was teaching in Kaplani, I was completely blown away by the children’s enthusiasm and joy in the classroom. It has 100% made me appreciate my school. Thank you to everyone who has helped with fundraising and making this journey happen. I am sure that our team has learned as much, if not more than what the children in India learned from us.
Jessica Crowe St Patrick’s
This two week experience with Saphara has been utterly inspiring; the friends that I’ve made and the bonds that I’ve established will hopefully last forever. My journey with purpose through India has helped to develop me both personally and interpersonally as well as teaching me a lot about the value and importance of education. This experience has opened my eyes as to how education can affect the lives of individuals much like me only in a much different situation. The opportunities I have been given on this trip are endless and I would like to extend my deepest thanks to everyone who has helped to make this once in a lifetime trip a reality for me; namely the amazing teachers who led us and everyone who contributed to my fundraising. Thanks again to everyone.
Diarmuid Curran St Patrick’s
After completing my two week Saphara journey, I can honestly say that applying was one of the best decisions of my life. Through experiencing the Indian culture and having the opportunity to teach at three different schools, my outlook on life has undoubtedly changed. This has been enhanced by being able to do this with 20 other young people, all of whom I would call extremely close friends. This journey has truly opened my eyes as to how those in underprivileged communities really live and I am eternally grateful for having the opportunity to make a difference – It truly has been a journey with purpose.
Conor Watterson St Patrick’s
I cannot express how grateful I am for the opportunity I’ve received, not only did we get to see some of India’s beautiful places like the Taj Mahal, but we the definite highlight of the trip was teaching in each school. This was because seeing the happiness on the faces of the children revived us every day no matter how tired. The whole trip was better than I could have ever imagined and I’ve gained so much from the experience. I will admit that the fact we had an amazing team made the trip easier and I consider all them close friends. I would finally just like to add my thanks to everyone who made this possible.
Laura Dagens Assumption
I can say with 100% honesty that this trip has been an adventure of a lifetime, from the 5:00am wake ups to the numerous treks to the 24 hours of travelling to get home. Being on this trip has definitely had a lifelong effect on me. I now know that not everybody in the world has the same comforts and opportunities as me and because of this I have become more appreciative of the opportunities and things I have in life. The teaching aspect of this trip has also shown me that even after a few days at 2 schools we can make a difference to the Indian children’s ability to speak English, even if that difference was very small. These last 16 days of travelling and teaching have been a blast, and were made even better by the 20 other students on the team, who were so friendly and supportive to me and one another. It was a true pleasure to work with and get to know each and every one of them. The enthusiastic, kind and appreciative nature of the students has been truly refreshing. This kind of attitude has shown me that they truly care about their education no matter what walk of life they come from. To conclude, I would recommend this trip to anyone who wishes to give back to those who aren’t as fortunate as them. I would also like to thank Dominic, the other teachers and the 20 other students on the trip for giving me an experience and adventure of a life time.
Samuel Halleron St Patrick’s