The caste system is unfortunately still very common in India, so children who have been born as “untouchables” have no real chance to get a proper education – except in Rishikesh: the Mother Miracle school in Rishikesh teaches especially the smartest children from poor backgrounds, as they can benefit the most from a proper education and can hopefully support their entire family in the future – the only chance to escape the cycle of poverty. No wonder, that there were 3000 applications for the 127 places in the new school year.
By perfect coincidence, the new school year started on April, 1st, and also the new school building would be opened on the very same day with a big fest. A fest, which would be spiced up with the bouncy castle! The school’s founder Shahla kept the castle as a surprise though, and just told the children to eat a lot in the weeks before, so they be energetic enough for the big surprise.
The day of the opening started with a ceremony and some speeches. Afterwards some of the older students gave a got a handful of spices to everyone. Hungry as I was, I was tempted to eat them, but fortunately realized I had to throw them into the fire as an offering for good luck – first mistake avoided!
Afterwards, the big moment had come for the kids. The ~350 kids gathered around the courtyard, we put the castle into the middle, plugged in the fans and the castle started to rise – until 20 seconds later the electricity was gone. It was not very pleasant to see the children’s eyes changing from unbelieving excitement to disappointment. Fortunately, we found another power point, and this time the castle expanded to full size!
The little new students were the first to jump, probably thinking school would be like this everyday. I hope they will be not too disappointed. Then the older children joined them, and they were joined by all the school’s staff and me. We all spent a great day of jumping, and watched the students’ dance performances in the breaks (see above).
Carrying the castle back to the car was the last effort in the evening. Even though we all sweated litres of liquids, and my back hurt quite good at night, it was a very pleasant day and definitely a very good ending for the Indian adventure. Not an ending for my trip though, as the next stop is called: Pakistan!