Campus Connect – Visit to Jayapura Campus

Following Bhagawan’s guidance, a group of alumnae and alumni visited the Jayapura school campus and spent the weekend, interacting with the students on a variety of topics. The trip was eventful and helped establish a rapport with both the staff and students of the campus.

Day 1 – Jun 18th, Saturday

The day started early for the group, which left for Jayapura from Bangalore early morning. Jayapura is a small, serene town located in the district of Chikmagalur, which is well-known for its coffee plantations. After a seven-hour drive through the hills, dotted with tea estates and coffee plantations, the team reached the Sri Sathya Sai Divya Niketanam (Boys’ Campus) around noon.

The campus nestled in a very picturesque location was a treat to the eyes, surrounded by mountains and lush greenery. The pristine fresh air itself was refreshing enough to take away the stress of the long drive. The campus was built eight years ago by Sri Jayavanth Bhat, a devotee of Bhagawan. Three years ago, he offered it to Swami.

Sri Surendra, Chairman, Jayapura Campus, along with the Warden and few other staff members welcomed the team and ushered them into the newly constructed guest house. After a short break, they were taken on a tour of the campus. This was followed by a sumptuous Malnad lunch.

Day 1 – Jun 18th, Saturday

Alumnae activities

Post lunch, the alumnae were taken to Sri Sathya Sai Sri Niketanam (Girls’ Campus), which was located about three kilometers away. They were welcomed by Ms. Prarthana, Vice- Principal, and Ms. Vijaylakshmi, Warden of the campus. The team was taken on a tour of the campus, starting with a visit to the beautiful Annapoorneshwari Devi temple, located in the campus grounds. Devi Annapoorneshwari is the presiding deity of the campus. After this, the alumnae started off with their activities. There were two main activities planned for the day – a dental checkup for all students by Dr. Sai Lakshmi, and an orientation session on environmental awareness by sister Pavana.

Alumnae activities

While the dental checkup progressed with every student being screened, sister Pavana spoke to the gathered students on the said topic. During the course of her interaction, she covered many sub-topics such as the importance of cleanliness of one’s surroundings, simple yet efficient ways and means to conserve water and electricity in everyday life, and the responsibility of each student to protect and maintain their campus environment. These sessions were conducted in two batches. The first batch had students from grades six and seven, while the second batch has students from eighth to tenth grades.  The students interacted freely and posed many questions and doubts at the end of the sessions. They even shared some experiences from Swami’s visits to the campus last year.

Alumnae activities 2

At 6 PM, the entire campus assembled in the prayer hall for the evening bhajans. The bhajans were soulful and energetic and went on about half an hour. It was endearing to see the rich talent and flair for music in the girl students. After the bhajans, Dr Sai Lakshmi gave a brief talk on the importance of oral and personal hygiene, healthy food habits and general health.

It is worth a mention here that the entire campus is still under construction and only a couple of rooms have been made temporarily available for the classes and hostel. In spite of this apparent hardship, not to mention all the noise and dust from the construction, both the students and staff seemed unmindful of it. The grace and discipline with which they went about their daily routine was truly inspiring. The limited space in the campus seemed to have brought them all closer; it was very heartwarming to observe the loving relationship between the teachers and students. It reminded us of our own teachers in Bhagawan’s institutions, who cared for us with the same love, attention, and affection. A day spent with the able instruments of our beloved Lord was indeed as humbling as it was motivating.

Alumni activities

The task was cut out for the alumni. Following Sri Surendra sir’s request, the team’s main assignment was bhajan training for the boys. The session started off with brother Srinivas and brother Prasad sharing their experiences from their hostel days while learning music. They impressed upon the students that the only purpose of learning music was to please Swami in His next visit to the campus and receive the most coveted words from Him – ‘Chaala Baagundi’!

The duo then auditioned and screened about 40 boys from grades six to ten, who had shown interest in bhajan singing. Even during the audition, they corrected and taught the right version of some of the bhajans which were sung incorrectly. On the whole, the caliber of the students was impressive and most had a very good sense of shruti and talam.

Brother Srinivas continued with the auditions even after the evening bhajans and dinner, while brother Prasad took harmonium classes for the few boys who had earlier shown interest. The day ended at 9:30 PM.

Day 2 – Jun 19th, Sunday

The team was joined by two more old students from Bangalore. The day’s task was set for the team and they went about it with perfect precision.

Alumnae activities

Post breakfast, Dr Sai Lakshmi started with the dental checkup for the boys students in the Sri Sathya Sai Divya Niketanam campus. Sister Pavana and sister Vidya (who had joined the team in the morning) proceeded to the girls’ campus. Following the morning bhajans and aarti, sister Vidya spoke to all the students on the importance of good nutrition and healthy dietary habits that must be cultivated and followed on a daily basis. She also taught them a couple of well-known songs such as Why fear when I am here, Daasara Madikoyamma, Hum Phool Hai Sai Ke Jag Ko Mehkayenge and I keep feeling your love in me.  She then shared her experiences with Swami from her student days. The session ended with distribution of chocolates to all the children.

Day 2 – Jun 19th, Sunday

Alumni activities

Brother Srinivas joined the hostel students to observe the chanting of Omkar and Suprabhatam at 5:30 AM. After the completion of regular prayers, he demonstrated to the boys the correct way of chanting Omkar and Suprabhatam. After this, brother Prasad continued with harmonium classes for the select boys.

The audition continued after the morning bhajans as more boys volunteered for singing. Brother Ashimavo, who had joined the team that day, started training sessions for the boys who were interested in learning the tabla and dholak. The students were then divided up in two groups – group one comprising of boys who had good singing skills and the group two with the boys who needed more training. Both the groups were taught a few voice culturing exercises.

Day 2 – Jun 19th, Sunday (2)

Post lunch, the team started back to Bangalore. On the way back, they made a quick visit to the newly-opened campus at Hassan, Sri Sathya Sai Sathya Niketanam, situated between Belur and Hassan towns. It was indeed joyful to see the first batch of students, the tiny tots who had joined the sixth grade, happily playing about in the campus.

Day 2 – Jun 19th, Sunday (3)

(As reported by Pavana & Prasad)

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