BIS #6451 SYM Borivali Jungle Camp at Walvanda

by Durran D’mello & Fr Glenford Lowe for BISMumbai

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” we all heard of this phrase, but we at Borivali practice it. It was 11 September 2021, that 30 youth of Salesian youth movement Borivali, mounted the bus at 7 am, and headed to Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha, Walvanda. As we were enjoying the open road drive, with greenery on either side of the roads, the rains, we were served with breakfast boxes that were prepared by our companions earlier that morning. As soon as we reached Rector-Father Anaclete D'Mello, came at the gate to welcome us. He directed us to our respective dormitories. We assembled at the refectory where we were served some piping hot poha. “In the rains, hot poha! What else would one want,” exclaimed a fellow youth.

After a brief period of time, we all reported at the hall, where we danced on an action song, soon after which Father D'mello took over and explained to us in details of how that house functions. They broadly work in two dimensions – Technical & Social. In the Technical they teach the boys/men technical skills, so they go and earn for themselves and their families. In the social dimension, they teach the people out there various things - Like tuitions are given to children of classes 1-4, there is a children 'rights; club for classes 5 -9, Career guidance for classes10-12. There are 30 Social workers who help out. They also teach soft skills. They have initiated women empowerment. They have thought the people out there on how-to carry-on business. One of the active projects there are 'mogra' plantation. They have given 50 women 200 saplings of mogra. These mogra’s are then sent to Dadar & Thane for selling purpose. A sad truth about the place is we get our water from there, but the locals do not get the supply. However, Bosco Samajik Vikas Sanstha had come out with remedies and have created check dams and introduced bore-wells. We were all amazed to hear these works done by the house there. Later, our Youth Director Father Glenford Lowe divided us in groups and gave a case study through which we learned, that in life there will be some difficult decisions to make and how we need to think of long term and make decision by doing the right no matter how difficult it is. It was good to see the non-speakers taking up the lead and voicing their opinions.

After these power pact sessions, we broke for widespread buffet that had a vegetable, chapattis, an egg gravy, dal, and rice not forgetting the crispy papad. Administrator-Father Johnson Kshirsagar took us for a tour he showed us the check dams that is a huge help for the villagers there. We enjoyed the tour and its breath-taking views. On the way back we chilled in a stream singing songs and splashing water on each other. As we returned bak to the base camp all that was needed was a hot cup of chai that we were served with. We soon changed and gathered for the Eucharistic Celebration by our Asst. Youth Director-Father Renold Lemos who beautifully explained to us how we need to identify Jesus and carry our cross like he carried his. We then had an exciting game of housie and then departed for supper. Due to the rains, we couldn’t have camp fire, instead we played some games that were animated by our fellow youth. The day ended with an evaluation and a Good Night (Salesian Tradition) by Father Kshirsagar.

Day Two: In the cozy weather we pushed ourselves out of the tents and headed for breakfast, We then travelled few miles to visit Jai Vilas Palace (Jawhar Palace) the palace was situated on the top and the view from the top was beautiful. As much as we enjoyed the rains and the view we had to move out as we had also planned to visit the Dhabosa Waterfall. On reaching the spot we gulped some cutting chai and enjoyed the waterfall. We later headed back to the Jungle camp, packed, and cleared the tents reported at the refectory again, where our President Durran D’mello gave a flash back of the to days spent there. Vania Rebello then proposed the voter of thanks post which we took some group pictures and has a scrumptious lunch. After lunch we got into the bus with our bags only difference being, this time our bags had clothes and a lot of memories. Our journey ended on 12 September 2021 at Don Bosco Borivali.

We once again thank Fathers D’mello and Johnson, and the rest of the team there that made our weekend so insightful, fun and memorable.