The Assi Ganga valley is an incredible educational resource. Our group, diverse as it is, is combing the “classroom” for meaning. This has already entailed countless conversations, helping to build the roof of a house, eating local meals, sending half the group off to Dodital Lake (yes, a CCS group finally made it!), visiting three different schools, jumping into the frigid waters of the Assi Ganga itself, laughing deeply, and much more.
As Sydney put it, this valley, and Agora in particular, provide a type and depth of comfort reminiscent of home. We may be far from our families and from the comforts of the familiar but we all feel and are safe. This has allowed for real introspection and exploration.
Today we discussed at length the meaning and value of education. We saw first-hand the lack of proper classroom teaching in the public middle school – the teacher arrived late and alone to “teach” three classrooms full of eager learners. We felt also the true and tangible skills that are taught by the community. This lead us to consider the education that CCS strives to provide, one based on skills and values rather than test scores. This particular extension of our curriculum feels, while we are in it, like something of a balancing act.
We are balancing strong college-preparatory focus with a commitment to curiosity, integrity, self-confidence – things less testable but perhaps more important. We recognize the type of lifelong learners that we want to be, that we want CCS students to be, in people like Suman and Parveen. We feel the value of that in the people of this small village. It is powerful.
In all of this, we feel supported by all of you on the other end. The CCS community really is alive on the other side of the world. Though it is sad to think of leaving this place, we are also more aware than ever that this is in fact simply an extension of the world we nurture back on campus.