10/10/10 Arunachala Children’s Walk

by

One of the world’s biggest one-day events for the environment occurred last weekend, on Sunday, 10/10/10. 350.org held a ‘Global Work Party’, asking people around the world to do something that will help deal with global warming in their own city or community. They reported that 7347 events were held in 188 countries. To read more about this, go to the 350.org website. Locally, a number of schools came together and held an “Arunachala Children’s Walk,” as one of the 7347 world-wide events. 

The program started with a skit on the environment written and performed by the children, and then concluded with the “Arunachala Children’s Walk,” performing the 14 km pradakshina (circumambulation) around the holy Arunachala hill. This post shows photos of this event.

We all gathered at the Children’s Park, just west of Sri Ramanasramam. This was the sign at the park entrance, advertising the event. It lists the organizers of the event:

Arunachala Village School Trust
The Forest Way (a major Arunachala reforestation organization)
Ananda Social and Educational Trust
Sinam NGO
Students’ Sea Turtle Conservation Network
Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation (another Arunachala reforestation organization)

You can tell from the sign, mostly in Tamil, that the target for this event is local Tamilians, not the Western community in Tiruvannamalai.

DSC04823

A sign in English is on a bullock cart that will lead the walk today.

20101010_11478

A few people walk into the Children’s Park. The Arunachala peak is in the background.

DSC04827

There is a medical van parked here. With all the children walking, they are taking care that no one gets overheated or hurt. The van is from “Medical Camps India,” who offer a mobile clinic that goes into villages to provide medical care.

DSC04828

As provisions for the walkers, there is a big tank of drinking water, and many bunches of bananas.

20101010_11485 

The children are gathered in a big circle.

DSC04829

Western and Indian adults stand outside the circle, watching and talking.

DSC04830

Many, many children are here, hundreds, maybe one thousand.

20101010_11488

In the center of the circle, there is a skit going on.

DSC04831

A boy in rough cloth and a green face leads what looks to be two birds, with colorful outstretched wings.

20101010_11496

Some of the children are Western. One of the schools is attended by both Western and Indian kids. Instruction is in both English and Tamil, and they hope the children will end up bilingual.

DSC04834

DSC04836 

The birds fall down, perhaps to die from pollution.

20101010_11504

This Indian girl is the narrator. A big job to speak to 1000 people. All the skit and narration is in Tamil, so we  just  have to guess what is going on.

20101010_11511

Towards the end, a boy carries this ‘Closed’ sign around. Perhaps the companies polluting the area are closed now. 

20101010_11516      

These boys seem like trees. Someone comes to them and they fall down, perhaps the tree was cut down. Bad for the forest!

DSC04842

The many children watch, paying good attention.

DSC04843

The white-haired gent is David Godman, known for the many books about Sri Ramana Maharshi he has written. The woman next to him is Abihita, the founder of the Arunachala Kattu Siva Plantation. She is one of the people responsible for the reforestation of Arunachala. She has been working on this since the early 1990’s.  

Boys, hamming it up for the camera. They love having their photo taken.

20101010_11538

This boy is a member of some kind of local Red Cross kid’s organization.

DSC04846

More boys.

DSC04847

The girls are aware of the camera, but not so aggressive in having their photos taken.

 

The bananas are loaded into the medical van now.

DSC04851

It has a sign in front. It will be driving with the walkers.

DSC04855

The kids have formed into groups, boys and then girls from several schools.

20101010_11559

Each school has their own uniforms. These boys go to a government school.

20101010_11566

The girls at the school, in white ‘punjabis’ with a blue duppata (scarf).

20101010_11569

I think girls are in the Red Cross group as well.

20101010_11571

Girls from a private school, green checked punjabi, green duppata.

20101010_11575

Boys from another school.

20101010_11584

Girls from the same school.

20101010_11588

Now a line has formed, many children wait for the walk to start.

20101010_11596

20101010_11607

They get to the park gate.

DSC04858 

The bullocks are hitched in front of the cart.

DSC04871

As the second vehicle in the parade, there is traditional music, two drummers and two reed players. There are speakers, and big batteries to provide power during the five hour walk today.

DSC04861

The reed players go at it.

DSC04866 

Almost ready to go.

DSC04869

OK, now the bullock carts that lead the walkers move out onto the street.

DSC04874

DSC04877

The walkers start moving too. Each group carries a sign.

DSC04880   

They are out on the road now. The walk has started.

The government school kids are first.

20101010_11621

First the boys.

DSC04882

You can see all the energy of the kids today.

20101010_11622

DSC04886

Then the girls, running to catch up with the main group.

DSC04892

Some wave at the camera going by. They are all conscious of it.

 

20101010_11630

Here is the next group. The green school uniform.

Here are boys in red pants and blue and red plaid shirts. They attend Ramana Maharshi Matriculation Higher Secondary School.

Running to catch up.

DSC04899 

The girls from the school run, too. They look happy and excited.

Here is another school. I can’t read the sign.

20101010_11650

At the end of the parade are young Indian women, maybe local college students.

20101010_11655

The water wagon is also at the end of the walkers.

20101010_11656                

As are a few bullock carts. They are here to carry tired kids, exhausted from the long walk today. Right now a few just get a free ride.

This is several kilometers later, on Girivalam Road, the main road used to walk around Arunachala. The groups are still fairly well organized, with the signs leading the way.

20101010_11658

More kids ride the bullock carts now.

DSC04909

The medical van is trying to get in front of the walkers.

A good crowd of children walk today.

20101010_11662 

These girls carry the banner now.

DSC04913

The bullock cart is loaded with kids. Arunachala is visible in the background.

A sadhu with his pet monkey.

DSC04924

The boys are excited and want to shake the monkey’s hand.

DSC04927

To retreat from all the attention, they monkey climbs to a safe spot.

DSC04929

Adults walk at the end of the group.

DSC04931    

This is a big event for the children. They are able to take part in something they will remember for a long time. To change the consciousness of children about the environment is critical for the process of healing the planet. They are the future of India. With the right ideas and attitudes, they can help India play its needed role in fighting global warming. This will be a major problem in some coastal parts of India, with homes for millions of people being flooded. Hopefully, these children, as adults, will be ready to play a part in the solution.

Advertisements

Tags: , , , ,

3 Responses to “10/10/10 Arunachala Children’s Walk”

  1. Anu Says:

    This is wonderful! what better way to get the kids aware of the issues at such an early age!!

  2. Magazine Markets for Children’s Writers 2007 | Best Children Books Says:

    […] 10/10/10 Arunachala Children's Walk « Living in the Embrace of … […]

  3. World Wide News Flash Says:

    10/10/10 Arunachala Children?s Walk…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: