On Wednesday the 9th February 2011 at 9 am the Vanayatra team started their journey from Gurgaon hotel where Sri Rodney Clark, the Microsoft GM was staying, for a visit to Alwar Anchal. On the way to Alwar the time in the car was utilised by Sri Vijay Maroo, who gave a power point presentation to Sri Rodney about Ekal activities. Many of his queries were answered by the Ekal team.

In the afternoon we reached Bhagat Singh circle of Alwar, where the local karyakartas welcomed the USA guest and the EVFI team with garlands. The team then moved to the home of Sri Rajesh Bansal, (Treasurer of the Anchal Samiti) where lunch was arranged. The delicious traditional Rajasthani lunch was served , and our guest from USA happily sat on the floor with others to take the meal.

After taking lunch the team from Delhi and the local karyakartas left for the Vanyatra and reached the Todi Vidyalaya of Rajpurwada sanch by 3.30 pm. The local village committee and villagers welcomed in a traditional way with music, garlands and putting of ‘tika’ on the forehead of each guest. At this village the traditional turban was also put on all the guests. The Vidyalaya students recited poems and exhibited their learning before the team. Sri Vijay Maroo enquired from the village committee about the activity of the school. Sri Rodney Clark distributed chocolates toffees to all students. The local village committee explained about the vermi compost pit to the team. It was pointed out that the nearest school is about 2 kms from the village.

The next village to be visited was Barankabas at 5.00 pm, where the village committee and local people welcomed all in a similar manner. The team interacted with the students and Sri Rodney Clark distributed chocolates to them. Here also, Sri Vijay Maroo enquired from the village committee about the activities of the school. In this village also the vermi compost pit was explained by the local villagers. Here the pit was with a different technology than the one seen in the earlier village. It was pointed out that the nearest school is about 3.5 kms from the village.

Finally the team visited the Banjara Basti vidyalaya. Here also the traditional welcome was given to them. The team distributed chocolates to all the students. The villagers complained about the water scarcity in the village to the EVFI team. As it was getting late the team spent little time in this village. This is an area which is of Banjaras – people who keep on moving from one place to another. Ekal is the only source of providing some education here. Only five of the 35 children went to another school which was far away.

By 6.45 pm the team started the return journey from the village.

A get together was arranged in a hotel in Alwar town with the local committee where tea and snacks were served. The USA guest Sri Rodney briefly shared his experience. In this meeting the local committee promised to increase the number of Vidyalayas and proper correspondence to the head office in future. The local committee members thanked Sri Rodney for his taking pains to come to Alwar and see the Ekal work.

Early in the morning at 1.00 a.m. Sri Rodney was dropped at his hotel in Gurgaon. He was very thankful to the Ekal team to have shown him the village life and appreciated Ekal’s work in such remote area. He said that he was overwhelmed by seeing the dedication of the team that accompanied him from Delhi and of the team at Alwar. Sri Rodney said that many of the questions that he had in his mind on the Ekal work were answered in this trip. He said that he was going back to USA with a better understanding of Ekal. Before bidding good bye Sri Rodney promised to visit more schools during his next visit to India, which is expected in September, this year to Bangalore.

The local committee members who took active interest in this visit were Sri Mukesh Agarwal, the ‘samanvaya’ head, Sri Vimal Pathik, incharge of ‘vanyatras’, Sri Jagjit, ‘anchal yuva prabhari’, Sri Anil, Sri Pramod, Sri Deepak, Sri Chabil, Sri Keshuram Bhagat etc.

The vanayatra was full of inspiration and happiness to all.

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