Journey to India: Day 3

Coca-Cola sponsored my travel, accommodations and other expenses for my trip to India.

read Day 1. – read Day 2.

Day 3.

I arrived EARLY Tuesday morning in Bangalore, which was only a few hours before the group was to set to visit the Thimmareddy Government High School – a school benefitting from the Coca-Cola Company’s “Support My School Initiative”, which provides clean toilets and wash areas for children at the school.

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A warm welcome from the children at Thimmareddy Govt. High School. #5by20

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As much as I wanted to sleep upon my arrival, I only had time for a quick shower, change and repacking (we were heading to Jaipur later than day) before it was time to meet the group and head to the school.

The bus ride to the location offered my first glimpse of India in daylight, which I am still processing. A mix of extreme poverty and extreme wealth crammed into small spaces. More on that later.

 

When we arrived at Thimmareddy School, the children and staff welcomed us with music (with instruments played by the children), flowers and LOTS of smiles. I fell in love with these children pretty quickly.

Bathroom facilities before Coca-Cola stepped in at the school were downright deplorable, as we witnessed in the before and after photos during a presentation with the school principal, village panchayat, school management committee and NGO.

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Before the renovation, many adolescent girls stopped going to school when beginning their menstrual cycles, simply because there were no safe or clean toilets to use. Coca-Cola refurbished the toilets for both the girls and boys, as well as built wash areas for utensils and hand washing, so more students are now staying at school. In fact, some students don’t want to leave because they love the school so much.

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The children were a JOY. I don’t know how else to describe them, other than joy. They were welcoming beyond measure – shaking our hands and saying “welcome” and “hello” each time we walked past them. They performed dances and songs for us as well. It was obvious that the children and staff had practiced many hours and meticulously planned our visit.

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Welcome dance from the children of Thimmareddy Govt. High School. #5by20

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During the addresses, the school honored each one of us, along with their own amazing staff and Coca-Cola who make the school possible, with gifts and praise. I didn’t feel that I deserved the recognition, but graciously accepted. It was an privilege to be among these happy and joyous children.

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I was honored at the school. ❤️ #5by20

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After the events at Thimmareddy School, we took a bus straight to the airport, as we were traveling to the next city – Jaipur.

Stay tuned for Day 4 (read Day 1 & Day 2) of my journey to India and follow #5by20 for updates from myself and the group. and  if you missed it.

Coca-Cola sponsored my travel, accommodations and other expenses for my trip to India.