Wednesday 9 October 2013


A report by Aparna Khanikar (Award Leader, Maria's Public School, Guwahati)

On the 1st of  October 2013 the 1st batch of the Bronze and Silver aspirants of Maria's Public School, Birkuchi, Guwahati set off to Mawlynnong,(Meghalaya) the cleanest village in Asia, to explore nature at its best and also to accomplish their goal of holistic growth as individuals. The group consisted of 14 boys and 22 girls with their Award leaders and a nature anchor from a registered NGO - Eco Concept. The adventure was a combination of fun, learning and self-discovery by living in the midst of nature with the bare essentials. 

Crossing Shillong, the scenic beauty of this region and the fresh fragrance of the pine trees was quite intoxicating. The plantations along the gorges and the soothing breeze were very welcoming sights. And the winding narrow lanes we passed through on our way to the cleanest village in the world seemed quite mystery filled. Our minds were filled with eagerness to explore the unexplored. 

The first night the group warmed up with a night nature trail of 2 hours (around 6 kms) around the village and explored the wild - discovering the green frog, the lichens visible in the trees around depicting pollution free area and wild mushrooms. The group trailed across small waterfalls discovering the crabs which were out of their holes during the dark hours of night. Later the campers pitched camps and some stayed at the cottages allotted to them.

The second day started bright and sunny lifting our spirits for our day long trek in the woods up and down the hill (around 18 kms). This trek was quite tough with lots of steep slopes to the floodplains along the Bangladesh border which took us almost 4-5 hours to reach. The waterfalls and the stream downhill were alluring to all the tiring souls. It served as a fitting reward after this long and tiring trek. In the streams we enjoyed catching fish the way we do in the wild with no proper equipment. Later the Award aspirants collected water and boiled it over wood fire to serve noodles. The return journey uphill was tough and each aspirant made it to the base camp tired and fatigued but the night camp fire took away all their tiredness as the students danced and sang to the tunes of the latest melodies with zeal and enthusiasm.

Zip line crossing and the trek to the living root bridge fired the students imaginations and they were in high spirits throughout the next day as they trekked for 8km to reach the living root bridge where they discovered how the village around has learned to survive along with nature. It was a unique sight to see the two rubber trees clinging together forming the root bridge for people of the two villages to commute across the stream. The zip line crossing was mind blowing and all the girls as well as the boys were enthralled by it. 

At last with baggage packed and our minds & cameras brimming with ever lasting memories, we were all set to return home when our vehicle broke down. The students had to manage by themselves in this hour of crisis which they did with calm competence. And I must say that IAYP, by introducing Adventurous Journey as one of the qualifying criteria for the Award has indeed given each individual a chance to explore his ability to deal with stress and uncertainties.

Kudos IAYP!!

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