I had the honor of visiting Niki and Mansi's Down to Earth class one more time before leaving Mumbai. On this visit there were a lot more kids... It really seems incredible that the kids and teachers are able to get anything done, with such a lack of space, and yet they do. Determination.
We played word association again, and then Nikki invited me to conduct activities with the kids. First I taught them the "I went on a picnic and I brought..." game. Except I forgot to do it in past tense, so I had the poor kids stumbling over "I am going to a picnic and I am bringing..." Everyone giggled when one of the picnic-ers decided to bring a garden.
Then, on to mathematical crafts. I had brought some craft supplies for kids to make birds using paper circles cut into full circles, halves, quarters, and eighths... It was a bit chaotic, with lots of Hindi-English translation. I also made fun of my American accent, and explained that yes, I do say the word "bird" in a funny way, but that they should excuse me because I just have a funny American way of speaking that I can't help.
Above are some photos from this visit. The one of the kid (Ahmed is his name I believe) with the littered field behind him is one I took on my way out of Ambedkar Nagar (the little slum neighborhood of Cuffe Parade where the Down to Earth classes are held). This field is not only a dumping ground for garbage but is also the playing ground for games of all sorts.
In retrospect it seems that I spent far too little time engaging with the good folks of Down to Earth. I hope to strengthen our connection and spend more time and energy working with them in the future. Next time, it would also be great to have some time to talk to the teachers and other organizers in a separate meeting to get a better sense of the background and mission aside from what is of course obvious in the field.