Mysore and the Party Bus

Today we left the SCMI as early as 5.20 am in the morning to take the train to Mysore. Our first ride in an Indian train was a great experience and gave us the opportunity to get a look at the surrounding country side.

In Mysore we visited the beautiful palace which, supprisingly, was only built in 1890 by an British architect even though it looks a lot older. Part of the royal family is still living there.

At the temple on a mountain top we had some very nice so encounters with cows but some not so nice with apes who wanted to steal our water (just to spill it all over the floor…). The temple itself was impressing because of the huge crowd of believers who came to pray and bring offerings to the god.

In the end of the day we took SDG No.6 in account. We visited the KRS Dam and Brinmwen Gardens. It was build by the Swiss and financed by the Indian mararadscha, a good example for international project management. The dam provides electricity and water for the hole region, specially for agraculture. But the dam also thoughens the conflict over the rare recourse water in that very dry region. The conflict escalated so far that people get killed and the States Karnataka and Tamil Nadu have a serious political dispute going on.

We ended the day with a trip back in our party bus!!🎊🎉

Best wishes and greetings from India

Second Day in Bengaluru

Today we had aur first sightseeing day. We went to the city center of Bengaluru to see the parliament of Karnataka and to have a walk in the park. Some us had a coconut drink and we enjoyed the 32 degrees and wonderul sunny Indian climate. Afterwards we visited the Viscesvaraya Industrial and technological museum. There we could try many different and entertaining experiments. Afterwards we went to a Sikh temeple. The local sikh preacher gave us an interesting introduction to his religion. Especially in Punjaat but also in Bengaluru many people follow sikh religion. Sikh religion was founded in 1468 by Guru Nanak.

In the afternoon we prepared our cultural night. Our Indian friends drew wonderful henna tatoos for us and we dressed up in Saris. Other SCMI students from Bengaluru joined us for the evening. We made Apfelpfannkuchen and held a presentation about Germany (celebrating a little carneval was part of it :)). We also enjoyed Indian dances and food.

Now we hope to fall asleep fast because we are leaving Bengaluru early in the morning.

Welcome to India

“The real voyager of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” (Marcel Proust)

After travelling for one day we were finally welcomed by some of our loved ones at Bengaluru Airport. During the drive to SCMI house we got our first impressions of India, especially the crowd of Bengaluru city and the traffic.

At the SCMI house every single person of our group got warmly welcomed with a flower garlande, which filled the whole room with a magical smell.

After a short introduction of the SDGs and our programme, we managed our first challenge to eat the delicious food by hands.

In the evening we walked a little bit around the neighbourhood and went into our first Hindu Temple and survived the second challenge of today to cross a street during traffic.

So we go to bed with the feeling that many lovely experiences are waiting for us in the next two weeks.

11 days

The excitment in our group is big. Just 11 more days until we are going to take the plane from Frankfurt. We are counting! Essentials like moquito nets are bought and backpacks are about to be packend. We can‘t wait to see our Indian friends again. About our adventure we are posting new blog entries again starting on 25.02.2020.

Day 14 – See You Soon!

Sunday was the last day we had all together as a group. Most of the Germans had to leave this afternoon because on Monday their classes will continue. The Indians had to take the plane on Monday morning, so there was still some time left.

On Sunday morning we attended the big ending service of the church day, which took place in the Signal Iduna Park. The home stadium of Borussia Dortmund. It is also the biggist football stadium of Germany and fits over 80.000 people. At the service not all seats were occupied but still quite a lot and therefore the biggest service I have ever been to. It was quite an experience for all of us and additionally it was very hot and sunny on that day.

Oure seats at the Signal Iduna Park
The preaching pastor in the middle of the field

After the service we were very lucky to get home quick because over 30.000 people wanted to get home and take the train. But we managed it somehow and didn’t even lost one of us!

Back at the ESG we made ourselves lunch. And we had a great time together at this last lunch – for the time being. In the afternoon we had time to pack our bags and to write some notes. Everyone of us got an envelope with his or her name on it and everyone wrote a little note to each person, which he or she put into that respective envelope. So we had some loving words we could read while missing the great times we had on this exchange and traveling together.

In the end the time came and one by one we had to leave to get our trains back home. The goodby was really sad and a lot of tears were shed but at least is was not a “goodby” but a “see you soon in India” when we will visit them. Still, feeling very heavy hearted, we took our busses and trains back into our regular day-to-day routines. But with a big bag of wonderful memories!

Only Jojo, Annette and Michael stayed with the group until Monday, so they had a tasty dinner in the garden of the ESG Dortmund.

Indian-style dinner on Sunday evening

See you all soon in India!
We will all miss you and the wonderful times we had together. They will alway stay with us as well as the friendship that connects us, no matter what will come.

Day 13: Last day at church day

On our last day at the church day we experienced again many different things!

In the morning some of our group went to a bible workshop with the famous Comedian Eckhard von Hirschhausen and the final Panel about “Trust in international Politics” with the two most famous female leaders in the world. Germans and Indians could listen together to the German chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel and the first female president of an African country Ellen Johnson Sirleaf from Liberia.

Afterwards, we went to have food at the church day. The Indian group was able to enjoy food from different countries like Hungary, Turkey and the Maghreb countries.

In the afternoon, some of our group went to the shopping center to get the last souvenirs for India. Others went to an interesting discussion about peace building in Central America and another small group joined a walking tour in the city center about right wing- extremism in Dortmund. Moreover we watched the performance a great dancing group from Namibia. All in all, again we got many impressions about different important issues from all around the world!

In the evening, we met and did a first reflection about our time together. Everyone agreed that we learned a lot both about important topics both for our own life and another culture.

After this, we spend a nice evening at the ESG Dortmund: we had barbecue, listen to a Gospel concert at the church and were talking until late about the wonderful time we spend together in Germany.

Day 12: Culture, Chats and Candles

As the sun rose, also we rose one after the other to prepare breakfast and start the day with an English morning prayer in the church across the street from ESG. As SOMEONE was not yet wake enough to coordinate our group, we had to overcome a little confusion with our tickets for the Kirchentag. But then everybody was set and ready to start again into an interesting, inspiring and above all fun day.

Some of us opted for learning circle dances and got carried away by tunes from around the globe. Alex decided to take some of us to a friend’s concert in the inner city to listen to Indie songs. Someone, Sophie and others took again the time to stroll along all the different fair stalls of the market of possibilities.

At noon, we had a reunion at the fair where we had time to share our experiences and did the further planning for the (last ☹) days to come. Back in the present, we recharged our bellies with delicious Indian food (we cannot wait to taste the real India), before heading to the next activities. Again, it was difficult for us to decide among the endless options.

One Group got important insights into the current situation in the Aegean Sea in terms of criminalization of helping refugees, exports of weapons and its correlation to the cause for migration and use against refugees. Another group took part in a talk about the role of the church in protecting human rights and people facing social oppression. Some German and Indian girls had the chance to talk to experts on the feminist and human rights movement in Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina about faith-based Nonviolence against Violence. Deeply inspired, the Girls take home several live-changing learnings.

In the evening we all came together for a Taizé Prayer in the Westphalenpark. In midst of flamingos, flowers and flames we sang songs of Taizé, listened to words of Pater Timmothé and cuddled together as both night and temperatures fell.

Coming home with a warm heart, we had a last midnight snack and sank in our beds exhausted, but also very happy.

Day 11: Thursday in Black

Today was ” Thursday in Black”, an initiative that encourages people around the world to wear black as a symbol of solidarity with victims and survivors of violence and calling for a world without rape and agression of any kind.

We went to enjoy the second day of the “Kirchentag” (you know, jaaa?) so we were in different groups and workshops. Here some impressions of the activities we did today:

On our way to the main hall…

workshop time…

It was serendipity that we met Celine´s parents…

We also had time to reflect a little bit about our visted events…

In the evening we finished our beautiful day in the best way possible: saying thank you to God for this extraordinary intercultural experience with our own Idian-German service.

Day 9: travelling from Berlin to Dortmund

After having delicious breakfast we went to the museum called ,,Blindenwerkstatt – Otto Weidt”, where we had a guided tour. We got some information about the workshop and also about the living conditions of jewish people during the ,,Nazi” time.
Otto Weidt founded this workshop for blind jewish people in order to save their lifes by trying to avoid their deportation to the concentarion camps.
For lunch we had chicken and spring rolls with rice in our accomodation.

For going to Dortmund we had to take first a train to Münster for around four hours and then we changed the train for another thirty minutes. Our ESG house, where we will stay for the next days is not directly located in the middle of the city, so we took the underground an the bus to finally reach our new ,,home”.

Matthias, the pastor of the ESG Dortmund, gave us a very warm welcome and after distributing rooms we had amazing BBQ for dinner.

Last but not least, our Indian friends surprised us with beautiful henna. So we are prepared for the ,,Kirchentag”, which will start on thursday.