BIS #6561 STI Novices day out to Walvanda

by Loren Crasto & Cleric Hubert Lyngdoh for BISMumbai

One of the highlights of the Christmas octave celebrations at STI was the outing to Walwanda on 28 December 2021, the feast of the Holy Innocents. The day began with the Holy Eucharist celebrated by Father Ivan de Souza, during which he reminded us to pray for the unborn children as well as those innocent and helpless children on the streets exposed to abuse and exploitation.

Holy Eucharist was followed by a hurried, hot cup of tea and by 7 am we were on our way to Walwanda. After a very pleasant drive during which Father Robert Pen kept us awake and entertained with his informative running commentary, pointing out the different dams, waterfalls, roads, villages and the other tourist attractions in the region, we stopped at a wayside restaurant for a typically 'local' breakfast. We arrived at our destination a little after 10 am, where we were warmly welcomed by Father Anaclete D’mello-Rector of Rural Development Centre (BSVS) and the technical school-hostel (DBTI). We received a special welcome drink,

after which the Rector showed us the chapel and the beautifully prepared crib while explaining the theme behind it and its meaning, so that even the locals could understand the message of Christ’s birth in present times.

The community of STI and the community of Walvanda joined in singing Christmas carols and concluded with an exchange of wishes. Father D'mello introduced his community to us and then took us on a guided tour of the campus explaining to us the service that the community renders. He also enlightened us about the history of the place, of the locals, of the challenges faced and the future plans of the institute.

We visited the Don Bosco Technical Institute (DBTI) where a staff member acquainted us with the different trades and skills imparted to the students of the institute. Then the community sat under a banyan tree where Father D'mello briefed us about the rural development works undertaken at the centre and the importance of empowering the people to stand up and fight for their own rights.

After a brief photo session and a relaxing game of UNO we sat down for a sumptuous meal lovingly and painstakingly prepared for us. A special word of thanks was said to Father Monty Rodrigues, Father Johnson Kshirsagar, and the kitchen staff, for the delicious meal. Then, the novices and the staff played a game of box cricket, followed by a refreshing cup of tea with plum cake and an energy bar.

By 4.15 pm, it was time to hit the trail back home. The novices and the community of STI expressed their gratitude to the Walwanda community through a small address and a thank you song. At 4.30 pm, we left Walwanda for home, but made couple of short stops on the way to take in the breathtaking scenery from strategic locations. We finally reached home at 7 pm tired, but enriched by our visit to Walwanda.