Wednesday 18 September 2013


A report from Ramkrishna Mission Blind Boys' Academy - A report from the Award Leader

A team of 19 Gold Award participants from Ramkrishna Mission Blind Boys' Academy, Narendrapur and one participant from South Point School, Kolkata completed their Gold Award Adventurous Journey at Gorumara National Park between the 15th and 20th of August 2013. The participants were escorted by Rupanjan Goswami (Award Leader) and Rajen Saha (Faculty) as well as 5 instructors from the Institute of Climbers and Nature Lovers, Kolkata. Garumara Wild Life Sanctuary is situated in Latraguri of Jalpaiguri district in West Bengal and is rich in natural beauty and wild animals such as elephant, bison, peacock, leopard and various species of birds.

The journey started on 15th August 2013 when the group left Kolkata by Kanchan Kannya Express. We reached New Mal Junction the next day at 10.30 a.m. and left for the camp site at 'Bana Bitan', situated next to the Sanctuary and tea plantation. The main camp activities started with an interactive and information sharing session by the ICNL instructors on Garumara WLS Camping etiquette. In the afternoon embarked on a 4-km walk to the Naora River. The Participants experienced how snow melted - they felt the icy cold water splash on their feet and realized how a hilly river runs fast between their toes.They interacted with the local tribal communities and there was a sense of mutual respect. In the evening session experienced ICNL instructors taught the boys mountain and camping etiquette, and an awareness of the hazards and how to overcome them.

The next day started with a jungle walk at 5.15 a.m along with some stretching exercises. For most of the participants this was their very first opportunity to trek through the jungle and explore a national park. They were amazed to feel the bounties of nature by touching different trees and herbs that were unknown to them. They were delighted to hear unfamiliar sounds emanating from the jungle. The instructors explained the sources of the sounds and taught them how to listen and enjoy the language of Mother Nature.

The post breakfast session started with a prayer and a few minutes of silence in the memory of a popular ICNL instructor, Anal Chatterjee. Then the participants got into action with a session of River Crossing. With the help of equipment and ropes the participants crossed a deep pond by hanging over it. They were infused with a sense of achievement after completing the task.

For the post lunch session, the instructors taught the boys about different mountain and camp equipment and their utility and strength. The visually challenged boys touched the equipment and recorded the information in their I_POD. The boys were determined to preserve the data delivered by the instructors.

The evening session started at 6.30 pm with a lesson on survival. The participants learnt survival techniques and how to cope with trying or hazardous experiences of Nature. 

The next day's morning session started at 5.30 am with a pleasant trek into the jungle. Again the participants learnt about the flora and fauna of the region by touching, feeling, hearing and smelling. During the trek they came across footprints and other signs of a tusker elephant. They bravely stood their ground and did not retreat, managing to complete the allotted task successfully. The next session was on Jummering; the participants climbed a tall tree with the help of a jummer and then rappelled down by using a descender. This is a difficult task even for sighted people but the visually challenged participants did it perfectly. The post lunch session was Tent Pitching. The participants learnt the names of different tents with their specifications. They learnt the use of different tents in different places and climates. After the theoretical briefing the students were given the task of pitching a tent without the help of the Instructors. The Instructors were happy to see that the boys pitched the tent successfully - this was a significant achievement for both the boys and their instructors.

On the last day the participants went for a walk through the villages and the local market. The Gold Level adventure camp ended with a gala campfire in the evening, and a display of cultural skills such as music, mimicry, flute recitation and dancing.    click for pictures

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