By Utpal Pathak, Volunteer from Ahmedabad Chapter

“AFS Ahmedabad organized the 3 days event with lots of enthusiasm for all the hosted students in Pan-India. To make the even successful, guidelines were defined and lot of work went into preparing an agenda that led to an amazing cultural experience. Volunteers of Ahmedabad were excited to execute this event since the idea was shared in July 2018. With the help of committed members of Core Committee, a periodic meeting took place to ascertain the smooth sailing of the event. With the final confirmation from the hosted students to participate in the Garba for Global Peace, an orientation was done for the host families in Ahmedabad to share the details of hosting, events and safety of the host students during the program. 

During the event

Each of the host students were picked up by their respective host families and volunteers at the arrival. On 13th October, all the hosted students gathered at Kumkum Vidhyalay to learn how to play Garba. Volunteers created flower Rangoli featuring AFS. Hosted students were welcomed at the practice venue where they also had stall for ornaments specially designed for Navaratri occasions and traditional dress. On Dhol beats, host students learned the ABC of Garba with their host siblings. Ahmedabad returnees, along-with hosted students of Ahmedabad and their siblings performed a stage show for few minutes to showcase a glimpse of Garba to all the hosted students from pan-India. Later in the evening after practice, hosted students with their host families were served with delicious traditional Gujarati dishes. They were also given a gift bag filled with oxidized pen stand, instant rangoli, pair of Dandiya and specially carved memento – a symbol of Sidi Saiyad Monument of Heritage City, Ahmedabad. The day ended with host students participating in Garba in their local societies with the host families. 

Host Student doing Garba

The morning of 14th October started with city tour. Students got the chance to explore Hathisinh Jain Temple, Gandhi Ashram and Adalaj Vav along with selected volunteers. During the evening, main event of Garba for Global Peace took place where host students along with their respective host families did Garba in their traditional Indian attire. The Garba field was illuminated and decorated as per the requirements. The center of the field had a photo frame of Goddess Amba. The Garba for Global Peace was also live streamed with the help of one of the Ahmedabad volunteer. Many media agencies came to interview the hosted students and cover the event. After the dinner break, hosted students played Garba again till midnight. 

At Gandhi Ashram

The host students also had a cultural experience where they spent time with the host families throughout, especially on the 15th October. Evening dinner was organized at traditional food serving village food joint – Rajwadu. They were welcomed by Tilak and Rose and served with a welcome drink. Musicians were playing Dhol, Manjir and Shehnai. Hoste students performed Garba on the live music and later had dinner and did more Garba. 

Core Committee Members

16th October was the day of departure where host students were unhappy to see the event end and sad to leave their host families. With the departure, a note of thanks started coming from chapters for organizing such great event. 

With host family

A big thanks to all the host families, core committee members, sponsors and the committed volunteers of AFS Ahmedabad chapter for making this event a successful one. 

Special mention to Bhavna Machhar, Utpal Pathak, Swetal Gajjar, Ghanshyam Vekaria, Hitesh Chandrani, Hemen Tilva, Siddharth Goswami, Vimesh Shah, Vishakha Koshti, Kavya Gupta, Apurva Machhar, Sangita Pathak, Ila Gajjar, Sumitra Vekariya, Monika Shah, Parul Patel, Vishwa Pathak and Dhwani Gajjar

Shout-out to Tushar Shah for live-streaming the event for others to see who couldn’t join in Ahmedabad. 

With National Director, Divya Arora on the left

Thanks to Divya ma’am who despite of having busy schedule could manage to spare a day to witness and inspire the whole event. Thanks to Nishita for supervising the event form National Office and Ashish for becoming the backbone to the long plan and being committed.”

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