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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The four days of SPICE -- Day 2, Second half

Just before lunch, the quiz pairs from each school had to answer an elimination round. The top four teams would then be shuffled into four mixed pairs. After lunch, we had the second session of the day, on Human Rights, by Mrs. Rita Banerjee, who had earlier moderated the Inter-Faith Dialogue. Interacting with us and taking our ideas, she defined 'human', and listed the qualities of a human being; then she defined 'rights' and listed examples of rights. Then she finally defined human rights. She showed us videos of United Nations campaign adverts, with a separate ad for each of the 30 Rights from the UN Charter. She made some of us perform an impromptu skit to showcase a common violation of one of these Rights. She divided the other girls into groups to write short poems on changing the current status of enforcement of Human Rights. Of the 30 Rights, the Right to Play, which most of us didn't know about, delighted all of us. We received many new ideas and information regarding our basic rights and the responsibilities that come with them. We felt empowered after the session. The session was extensively interactive which made it very interesting. Personally, I felt happy because Mrs. Banerjee appreciated the way I presented my views.
Then we had a tea break. The next event was the Quiz: and the top four were Carmel M.A.M.C. (us!), Carmel Steel, Carmel Gariahat and Carmel Jorhat. After the shuffling, I was paired with a student from Steel. The quiz topics were the Bible, General Knowledge and any one from a list comprising Science and Technology, History and Geography, Literature, etc. Team C comprising Gariahat and Jorhat won with 55 points. Both of them were pretty knowledgeable, and the Gariahat girl aced the Bible quiz. My team D came second with 30, which incidentally I achieved on my own which is a bit of personal consolation. My school partner won the bronze paired with a Jorhat student, as Team A. Ms. Sangita Jayal from our school conducted the Quiz, helped by others from our unit as well as other units. Then we had another short break, after which we gathered in the auditorium again for the Evening Prayer which was arranged by Carmel Gariahat and Kutra and consisted of songs, beautiful pics and hymns. Dinner was next, which was rice, dal, curries and fish for this day.
Just like the previous days and the days to come, the Animators were to gather for a meeting while we were to sleep -- but a disturbing thing happened to our unit. There was this hole, not very big, in our room (my classroom) which we had jammed up as nicely as we could. But we saw that there were big black ants coming out of it in an endless stream and ants all over our stuff. While other schools got ready to freshen up and sleep, we lugged out our luggage and unpacked stuff while the workers pulled out our bedding. The whole empty floor was then cleaned, smeared with gammaxene and dead ants were swept out. Meanwhile we opened another room just at an angle from ours (which is actually the music room) and moved our luggage there. There were three cots there for some teachers who were supposed to stay but changed plans later. We arrived at the decision not to move back our luggage as it had food and delicate material like costumes, cameras, CDs, etc. After our original room was dry, some bedding was put back in there, steering clear of the side with the hole. Some of us slept there while the others slept with the luggage on the cots there.
Because of all this, our unit was late for the campfire, which we had to hold in the hall around a symbolic fire, thanks to weather. Each unit performed or conducted games which had little prizes (chocolates, etc.). We conducted a game in which everyone had to identify brand names from their slogans. Everyone joined the songs and dances. I danced myself crazy. :D
After all this, we also had to do final rehearsals for our Song and Dance events the next day. There was also the Extempore Speech event which required calmness of mind. And guess what? I was in all three. There was also the Collage event, good thing was that none of our unit was in all four.We slept as quick as we could, ardently hoping for the best. My, that was a long day, but as we were to find out later, definitely not the longest.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The four days of SPICE -- Day 2, First half

I had set the alarm for 4 am, as 92 girls were sharing 2 showers. I was already a bit hungry: the previous night's dinner, though rice-based with enough curries etc. that we consumed in enough quaintity, it was taken earlier than most of us usually take dinner. Anyway, the second day was here, and we were to become acquainted with the routine that we would get used to by the end of the Congress. We freshened up at lightning speed -- after the long queue for the shower -- and rushed to the hall for the Morning Prayers at 6:30. The Rourkela Carmel students arranged the prayer and meditation session, which included songs and beautiful videos. By the time it ended, we were pretty hungry, and had a sumptuous breakfast of luchi and  dum aloo.
Then we had the day's first session, which was a Talk On Peace by Ms. Anindita Home Choudhury, an alumnus of our school and a vice-principal of a nearby school. She had her higher studies in Physiology, and teaches Biology in her school. She is also an educationist, and has spent time at the Drury University in the USA in this regard. The most interesting thing is that I have known this lady by face for a long time, as some teacher of importance at her school, as her school is often the centre for different competitive examinations that I answer. As I didn't know her name or anything else about her, I had no way of knowing that the nice teacher from HSM School I met several times was the person who would be coming. Her talk was engaging, and she spoke on a change in attitude towards problems, as in realizing how petty even the biggest of our problems is in the greater scheme of things. Her PowerPoint had lots of clever pictures which I intend to look up on the internet and collect. She interacted amiably and was comfortable to talk to. She also gave out two activity sheets, one to fill in our thoughts about peace in words or drawings, and the other to think and write down the differences in the attitudes of our heart and mind regarding the issue of peace. She looked at some of the sheets and asked for them to be read out. The 'heart' responses were more emotional and impulsive with more ambition than the more rational 'mind' responses. Unfortunately there was no time for all to share, which was a sad but inevitable thing in all the other sessions too.
Then we went downstairs for tea (and cookies!) break. I don't drink tea or coffee, so I attacked the cookies right away. Butter cookies, yum! Then we returned to the auditorium for the Local Unit Report Presentation, where each school reported on their SPICE Club activities in their own localities and within their schools. The reports were presented in creative ways. Almost everyone had a PowerPoint, and some included skits and dances. Carmel Keorapukur presented it in the form of news-reading like on television, which was interesting to watch. The next event was the first competitive event of the Congress. It was the Inter-Faith Dialogue. Each school was alotted a religion before the Congress, and one representative had to prepare a 6-minute speech on that religion. Lots were drawn to ascertain the order in which they would speak. The session was moderated very efficiently by Mrs. Rita Banerjee, who was also to be our resource person for the day's second session. My school's speaker drew 10, and had to go last. She had to sit there on stage and listen to each and every person before she could speak, poor thing. We were given Christianity. The Kharagpur speaker won this event. We didn't get a medal in this event; though our speaker spoke pretty well, it was not good enough for some very fiery ones that other schools delivered. The results, though, were declared in the second half: I mention them here as I'm going to write by event.
Then we went for lunch, which consisted of rice and a few curries, some veg and some non-veg, and dal.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The four days of SPICE -- Day 1

At 3 in the evening I reached the school. At 5 the Cabinet including me marched into the hall followed by the guests. Then I went to dress up as a Man for the Prayer Service skit of the Inaugural Session. The skit was very much appreciated. However, I could not change back into uniform in time for the Club Pledge and Anthem. Later students of different classes presented cultural programmes. Our Councillor For Education delivered the Inaugural Speech and read out a message from the Provincial Superior. Then all other than the participants staying back left. After dinner there was an Introductory Session which Ms. Bela, an Animator of Carmel Gariahat conducted in the form of a game. Each student was given a chit. There were equal numbers of chits, each with the name of an animal. No one was allowed to speak, you could only make the sound of that animal, and find others making the same sound as you to form a family. Then the whole family introduced themselves. I was in the Dog Family. Then we went to sleep. Our unit slept in my classroom. We went to bed full of anticipation.


I could not update before because of internet trouble. I went back to school today after a well deserved holiday on Monday. More about all the exciting events in the subsequent posts.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The Time Is Nigh

After a long wait and lots of rehearsals, the SPICE Club Regional Congress is finally here. Today at 3pm, I will be at school with all my stuff. The Inaugural Session is going to be hectic: I have to change costumes twice in half an hour. Can't divulge too much about the Congress now, though. I will write loads of posts once I'm back (after 11th afternoon). I can tell you though that the theme colour that we were given for our dance is orange, and the religion we were given for the inter-faith dialogue is Christianity. Each school got a unique colour, and two schools got each religion. Being the hosts didn't give us any advantage in the competitions, which is both a good and a bad thing :D.
I'm sure you've noticed the SPICE Club Special look of my blog: all dressed up in the Spread Peace Improve and Conserve Environment get-up. It is going to stay until I finish reporting about the whole Congress. That leaf is the club's logo, and also our SPICE Club badge. It is green, with gold border, a white dove, and gold inscription: 'Spread Peace Improve Conserve Environment'. I also changed the whole colour scheme of the blog to fit the mood. I'm participating in dance, singing, quiz, extempore and the Inaugural Session, so wish me luck. Staying at school day and night and meeting Carmelites from other Apostolic Carmel Eastern Province schools is going to be fun. Ta-ta!
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