A group of Dublin students and faculty are on a 21 day trip to India and the Himalayas - a trip which has been offered on a more or less annual basis by the school. The trip is sponsored by the school and a local parent, who runs a non-profit that supports a K-12 school in the Himalayas. The trip is designed to introduce students to the culture of the Himalayan people . Below is a description of the trip from the local parent to the students.
"We will spend a day in Delhi to recover from jetlag (believe it or not, a simple 20 hour flight is the first test of our endurance and I will share with you best ways to cope with it). Then we will take an overnight train journey to where the train line stops and the "Lesser Himalayas" begin (and don't let the word Lesser fool you... look it up and you will know what type of mountains I am talking about!).
Then an 8-9 hour drive to Chaukori where we spend 3-4 days at Himalaya Inter College which is a k-12 school that I know intimately because my non-profit supports this school. This will be an awesome time to get to know kids your age from another culture (don't worry - their English is waaaay better than your Hindi! :-) ).
Then we go deeper into the mountain ranges - an awesome drive that goes over a 9000-foot pass... down to the village of Munsiyari. Here we will stay in the very modest yet beautiful homes made of stone, mud and wood that belong to some families that I know well through the work of my non-profit. Here we will spend a week under the guidance of Malika, Theo and Ram - three of the most amazing people I know on this planet. You will get to learn hands-on about the Himalayas, the ecology, the environmental challenges, the forests, the wildlife, the farms, the daily lives, culture and customs of the local people of an Indo-Tibetan ethenic background, about social problems, ... You will learn about hiking in the Himalayas and Outdoor Leadership, followed by a 2-night trek up to around 13,000 feet for one of the most spectacular views you may have experienced!
On the way back down to catch the train we will take two detours over two night stays - one is to see an ancient group of temples called Baijnath - which were built in the 1200s and have continuously been used for worship since then - to date! Finally - we will do a wildlife safari at Jim Corbett Park on elephant-backs! I have seen leopards in the open fields and roads twice now (and even saw footprints right through the Chaukori school's "quad"!)... so you never know what you will see!
The trip through these rural parts of India will be full of surprises and interactions and experiences. You will get to experience openness and kindness of humankind at a level that may perhaps be a new experience for you. Even though I experience these year after year, trips to the Himalayas and interactions with the Himalayan people invariably leave me in tears of joy that I shamelessly don't hold back because these are good tears that seem to make my heart grow bigger. It simply feels good."