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Monday, 6 February 2012

Outside the City

An hour and a half ride brought us straight into the expansive zoo located outside of the Agartala city limits. Here we saw an array of animals that are unique to Northeast India while we also came across many that can be found in other continents such as Africa and South America. It was truly stunning to watch the tigers, lions, and elephants roam while the exotic monkeys and birds talked like crying three year-olds. The morning of exploring was exhausting after a long week of teaching, but was well worth it since cows, cats, and goats walking the streets have been mostly the only wildlife we’ve encountered in Agartala.

 Later that day we continued to voyage onward into a remote tribal village were the beautiful Don Bosco School for boys and girls was situated. There we were given a tour of their beautiful and vast farm that provides all the hostel students with enough fresh produce that they have a surplus that is sold to help support the school. It was fascinating to see the tapioca and chili plants along with many fruits I have never seen before and still have no idea what they are. This is a great example of a thriving school that is not only excelling in self sufficiency compared to schools in India, but even compared those in developed countries too.

We have been to four different, large schools run by the Congregation of the Holy Cross and each school has boy and girl hostels, which house students that come from areas too far from the school to commute every day. These are ultimately dormitories and the remainder of the student body commutes either by school bus, rickshaw, or a parent’s car or scooter. It is great to see the community develop within these dorms as you can tell the students are growing into adults as they build long lasting friendships with one another. Our last stop and most memorable one at the Don Bosco School was at the girls’ hostel. Here the girls sang us a tribal welcoming song before he headed back. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

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