Today, there were no classes, we were off and went to the city. One funny thing I experienced from a taxi man on our way to  lunch, was that he said he will no longer charge the taxi fare based on the distance,  but  charge the time it takes to get to the venue, in the heavy traffic of Bangalore. To me this was a whole new concept and it felt like a rip-off.

By Siyasanga Dabula

I am Siyasanga Dabula from South Africa, studying Agricultural Economics Honours level, at the University of the Free State. Additionally I pursue a Post Graduate course in Education at the same university.

The venue our summer school peer Arjun reserved for lunch, came as a surprise to the group. There was a refreshing balcony view, allowing us to have a good view of Bangalore. The sharing of the food was also something new most of the group members had to adjust to. One’s meal was shared amongst the group of 18, so that every group member would have a taste of the varied culinary options.  Yanthe said: “it was a good experience, but a bit of a challenge to adapt to the busy city lifestyle. It was good for team building and getting to know the group more personally.”

Team buildingWith overwhelming excitement we went to the market, with one thing in mind: bargaining the price while thinking about getting things for ourselves and our loved ones. For some it was the first time to experience bargaining.  Shopping with ladies who never know what they want or what they need, can be kind of fun. “Siya I need to get something for my mother, father and brothers” said Anne, then we went looking for things that would best suit the family. It led to us to almost depleting our funds on the first weekend, which is not a good thing.

One of the things that amazed the group in town was the overwhelming traffic of cars and motorcycles. It made crossing the streets a common mission to the group with safety in mind.

Pollution was one of the thing that led to a number of discussions while walking the streets of Bangalore. We saw cows on the street and also dump site around town, which have a negative impact on the livelihood of the people residing in these areas. Aman, a summer school participants from India,  told us a story of a lake that was so polluted that one day it was just on fire. They suspected that the fire was the result of the dirt in the lake. The problems with pollution are increasing I concluded, after seeing small dump sides and animals living in the streets, for instance a large population of street dogs, who feed on the dirt of the street. 

In summary: our day off was good for team building, we had lots of adventure and saw how things are done in other spheres of the world. The day ended good by watching the soccer game between France and Portugal,  but some hearts are still bleeding as their team did not do so good.

Siyasanga Dabula is studying Agricultural Economics at Honours level, at the University of the Free State (UFS). In addition, he pursues a Post Graduate course in Education at the same university. Siya is also a volunteer at the Institute for Reconciliation and Social Justice at the UFS.