17 October 2017
Colaiste Choilm Week 8

India Immersion Project

My name is Brendan Bracken and over the last two and a half weeks, I have experienced something that has changed my life for ever.
The Colaiste Choilm India Immersion Project is an amazing opportunity for students to avail of every two years in the school. It gave me a chance to see a different culture that is nothing like our own. When we were first chosen for the trip in January, I was thrilled and could hardly believe that I was getting the chance to do something so spectacular. As the trip approached, I became more and more nervous … yet I was still filled with excitement.

When we arrived in Mumbai International airport and we began to see some of the appalling sights, the seventeen of us all agreed that it was one thing and one thing only – devastating.
It really is as they say “being thrown in at the deep end”.

We began our work the next day and got straight into the swing of things. This was when it all got tough. As two of us walked on our way to the men’s ward in the Mother Theresa centre in Ashadaan, we tried not to stare as a person in a body bag was carried past us.
The sweltering heat, the unpleasant smells and the disturbing sounds when we were doing our work all combined with each other to make the best two and a half weeks of my entire life. On one particular day I approached a blind toddler lying in a cot, I was told that the toddler had not been taken out of her cot in months.
Nothing can describe the feeling that came over me when I rubbed her hand and she smiled back at me. It is moments like these that make the work so rewarding. The trip was tough yet I would do it all again in the morning if I could.

The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas

By Martin Holleran


A book set during the Second World War, follows the story of two young boys in their two totally different lives. Bruno a nine year old boy, who is the son of a commandment under Hitler’s regime, is set with the task of running the concentration camp Auschwitz. While Shmuel is a small Jewish boy that Bruno meets at the fence of the concentration camp and the story tells of how their friendship develops.

At first, Bruno hates his life in ‘Outwith’ as there is no one around that is his age but notices that there is a wired area outside his bedroom window full of people and children his age all dressed in striped pyjamas. Finally one day his curiosity gets the better of him and he goes on one of his explorations around the wired area and finds a small boy sitting the other side of the fence by the name of Shmuel. He gets to know the boy and soon develops a secretive relationship with him as time goes on. Months go by and he becomes very close to Shmuel bringing him food everyday. The author, John Boyne wrote the book in a very clever way as he uses the character of Bruno to show the innocence of Children and show that even a child in the middle of all the terror still doesn’t realise what is going on. While adult readers will also see the terror that is being inflicted on the Jews in the concentration camp through Shmuel.

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