Wednesday 23 March 2016

Culture and Diversity Study Camp

Mustafa Mokashi, an Award participant from Sanganabasava International Residential School, Vijaypur, attended a Culture and Diversity Study Camp at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala. The purpose of this study camp was to interact with the tribal people of the area and to know about their culture and their lifestyle. Here is what Mustafa learnt and explored.

I can never forget my IAYP Adventurous Journey at Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kerala which was conducted from 1st to 6th of November 2015. This journey was one of its kind and taught me how to learn, explore and connect with nature and how to understand people, their culture, and their ways of living. My understanding of the world has changed now, thanks to the IAYP adventure section of the Award and thanks to my school for giving me this opportunity to experience learning outside my class.

This Culture and Diversity Camp was of six days and on the first two days, we got the opportunity to stay on a farm in the middle of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary and then interact with the nearby villagers of the Adiyalar tribe. This experience was new to all of us, something we had never witnessed before. After the forest walk of the first day, on the second day we proceeded to the Bamboo village in South Wayanad. We stayed there in the homes of our new friends -- the tribal villagers. We interacted with them and leant about their food, culture and habits. Post lunch, we were all guided by the villagers to the bamboo groves and bamboo based village industries run by communities. Here we saw how different sorts of handicrafts, building materials and utensils could be made from bamboo; these villagers were our new teachers. When we saw all these, our textbooks seemed to come alive in front of us. We were further guided through different sorts of spice groves, paddy fields etc., and exploring traditional irrigation system called ‘Keni’ practiced by local tribes. In the evening we visited the Adiyar tribal colony and shared our experience of agricultural labours.

Next morning our group visited Edackal cave arts – the biggest petroglyphs in India, which belonged to the Neolithic culture, followed by visit to a tribal medium and a trek to Chembra mountain peak. We also visited Soochipara waterfalls. It was a good experience for the city dwellers to experience silence in nature. That night was campfire night, which we all greatly enjoyed. So much had happened and there was so much to look forward in the next three days.

On the fourth day, we started our visit to Thirunelli in West Wayanad inside Tholpetty forest through Banasura Dam. From here, we all visited the nearby tribal village and their farms. After the post lunch session, we visited Pazhasiraja tomb. The night was to be spent at the camp Thirunelli. The day was full of activities including exploring Thirunelli forest, Kurichiya tribal village, their traditional farms, Thirunelli temple and Bhramagiri Mountain. 

Next day we headed towards Thirunelli with Kurichiya, Adiyar and Kurumba tribal communities to explore their culture, cuisine and did some volunteer cleaning work. Last day after a small jungle safari the participants returned back to Mysore.

This exploration journey helped all of us to learn a lot about the tribes, which included study about their cooking, medicines and real-life experience. We also got the rare experience to watch and explore the tree houses too. We were shown how the villager’s kept their environment clean and they did it by collecting plastics from the forest floor in Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary. There were demonstration workshops on traditional arts which helped us understand the same. The most amazing part of the study tour was to the insight we gained into the lives of tribal groups and family, interactions with the tribals about their experience and life stories, learning traditional cooking, painting etc.

In a nutshell, this IAYP journey turned out to be the most memorable and rewarding experience for me so far. Click for the pictures

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