Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mad River field trip

The Mad River canoes were donated to the KIS activity program by alumni, Hank Moyers around 5 or 6 years ago. Since then, they've been used to do an unusual backwaters tour in Kerala, with staff and students propelling themselves through the canals around Alleppy, seeing life at eyelevel with the local inhabitants, as they canoe alongside the local wooden boats and past the houses and reclaimed paddy fields. Highlights are making eye contact, even being invited to come for a meal or cup of tea on occasion, being seen less as tourists and more as visitors!

This year 18 students and 5 staff did this wonderful trip. Pallavi Chatterjee, was one of them. The following are excerpts from her trip journal.

" Today was the first time at experiencing the sheer inexplicability of just "getting lost". Technically the others were ahead find yourself completely alone in this green, silent world where the only sound is the lapping of the waves on the sides of the houses by the canal shores, and the soft occasional murmurs of Malayalam you're able to faintly receive - and which is suddenly the most melodious sound in the world. Now there was only me, the canoe and this green silent world I neither wanted to enter nor leave."

For Pallavi, it was moments of solitude and the interaction with handicapped children at a school in Alleppy, that were the most meaningful parts of the trip - plus an unexpected feeling of homesickness - for Kodai!

For others it may have been swimming in the canals or jumping off the accompanying boat, watching the sunset off the beach in Alleppy, or walking through a small town temple, with a Barathnayam performance going on in the courtyard. Our last day on a giant floating hotel of a houseboat (7 bedrooms!) where everyone got a chance to really hang out together, and with the best food of the trip, was also memorable and restful after 3 1/2 days of canoeing.

Barbara Block Trip Leader
HoD Art