Our initiative to paint an old house in Rithoj, a village near Gurgaon, evolved from being just an activity to fulfil CAS requirements and hours, to an enriching experience that benefitted everyone involved. Having visited numerous villages to teach in schools, we students were familiar with the condition of the structures and it seemed certain that they needed renovation.The house we chose for our project was on the verge of ancient. With paint peeling off the cruddy walls and cobwebs occupying the property, the house seemed inhabitable. We students felt it was our responsibility to salvage the structure and began by clearing the spider webs and picking up dry litter to preparing the walls for a fresh coat of paint.The experience of painting the walls was one of a kind. For most of us, it was a drastic step to graduate from stencils and millimetre thick paintbrushes, plying our trade on canvas, to identifying the correct water-to-paint ratio for refurbishing the walls.Painting walls is deceptively difficult. We experienced the value of the action requirement of CAS when we felt our muscles tire from the continuous repetitive strokes of the brush. Our work would have been impossible had the villagers not provided us with stairs and hot water, and most importantly, tea. The value of that tea was incomparable. Not only did it rejuvenate us, but we could taste the love and gratitude that had gone into its preparation.The experience definitely required us to exercise many aspects of the IB learner profile while simultaneously moulding us according to the IB learning outcomes. Interacting with the villagers in their dialect tested us as communicators while the unfamiliar chore of painting a house not only made us feel like risk takers, but also the joy we hoped to bring to the villagers displayed a caring attitude. And the retrospection – such an important aspect of life – after painting the house cannot be overlooked.The activity could not have been more fulfilling, from planning the entire activity ourselves to persevering to finish the project; from working with others to discovering abilities hidden inside us, the entire experience was fantastic and definitely one we would pursue time and time again.After hours of work, we were all pleased with ourselves and our effort at making the house beautiful once again. At the end of our activity, more than just colour had been spread on the wall. There was an overwhelming joy of giving that encapsulated us and motivated us to give more back to our society. Despite the fulfilment, the activity made us feel that there was obviously a lot more left to be done. Rather than treating the painting of the house as our final destination, we students have chosen to let it remain as just a small part of the long journey it will take to try and give the villages a makeover. Having already painted a government nursery school and a village store, our next step is the village hospital. In our minds the work has just begun and pursuing CAS, we know that perseverance always has its special rewards.Thanks to all our readers for taking out time to go through our reflections.
Written and edited by Rushil MohanG D Goenka World School