Educational Camp 2008

Educational Camp 2008 “Turtle Beach”

The Educational Camp organized and planned by MSB is a once in a lifetime opportunity for students to gain unique, innovative and valuable experiences, each day while the preparations were being made for lodging, boarding, excursions etc., we felt the nazaraat of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin TUS simplifying umpteen complexities and guiding us towards better choices.

On Friday, the 10th of October 2008 early in the morning students gathered in the premises of Al Madrasa filled with anticipation, eagerly looking forward to experience the best educational and social moments of their life.

In accordance with our culture we performed Tilawaat ud Dua, after which the students were briefed about their trip and also the Memory Book was distributed. The students signed the declaration to be cooperative with teachers and each other and to care for the environment. After doing sadaqa 46 students and 6 teachers totaling 52 of passengers boarded the luxurious Daewoo bus where Al-Masool Janab Sk Mustafa Bhai Jack wished them luck and advised them to avail each opportunity as a learning experience an also have fun.
Our first stop was at Habib Ocean Industries at 9:30 am,it was an hour and 30 minutes journey. This industry abstracts salt by evaporating the sea water, as the bus halted we saw mounds and mounds of white. The walk although long, was enriching due to the array of pinkish white shades in the Salt Evaporation Pond. An official briefed us about the process of abstracting salt and post abstraction process and purification of the salt which reaches our homes.

The long walk and baking sun had made us tired so as soon as we reached our next destination, (WWF Wetland Centre) we were served chilled juice and Burgers which were welcomed by parched and famished students. After regaining energy in the cool environment of the presentation room Ms Sareeta welcomed us and briefed us on the Mangrove Forests of Pakistan, its types and only the few that have managed to survive in our land, its seedling process, its significance for our coastal areas and last but not the least what is being done and what can be done to save our natural treasure of Mangroves.

The presentation was followed by a surprisingly enthusiastic response from our students in form of questions, reflecting their excitement of learning in the real environment. What we were going to experience next was even more thrilling, a very satisfying emotion of actually taking-out our time and putting in our effort to preserve our natural environment. Yes! That was Mangrove plantation; we were out into the Mangrove Forest enthusiastically planting young saplings. Teachers were as excited as students and the thrill reached its crest when someone suddenly spotted a frightened little Mudskipper. We had given up hopes to see any wetland habitants as it was low tide and the land had dried out so witnessing a mudskipper was a real treat. Again at the Wetland Centre students Ms Sareeta briefed the students about the various displays and models which created a basic awareness about out marine ecology. After the explanation students were taken to kiosk room where they were free to scrutinize very rich and well researched information on habitats and habitants of our country in form of videos, slide shows and quizzes.

After our wonderful experience at the WWF Wetland Centre we were on our way to our hut. When students saw the hut for the first time they marveled at its enormity and the panoramic view of the sea. It was namaz time by then, so we all prayed namaz. While we were praying, mawaid recruits were preparing a delicious lunch. Two lip-smacking flavors of Ice-cream, a perfect treat in the heat of the sun, and mouth watering biryani and lassi. It reminded us of the sa’adat of Burhani Daur as we were experiencing “Seaside mein funside” and we were filled with shukr for the ne’am of Moulana Mina’am.

Although it was time given for rest, students were restless due to the excitement of what was coming next, that was ‘The Sand Sculpture Making Competition”. The first announcement had created a spark which kept growing as the time got nearer. All the four groups were having their secret meetings in secluded places. After the allotted time was over, students were ready for the actual competition. Students guided by teachers were taken to the French beach; which was all deserted as if booked by us. Each of the four groups was allotted a piece of beach area and was given an hour and 30 minutes to carve/ make their sculpture. Teachers were a bit hesitant at first of indulging in this area and getting themselves dirty, but the enthusiasm of Fatema bhen Anjari took all of them in the flow and they began making a sculpture with zeal and fervor. Being resourceful they took anything useful found on the beach to carve their sculpture and the final outcome was indeed a marvel!!!.
Well as far as the creative power of our young minds was concerned, they had done a terrific job. It wasn’t only a reflection of their artistic skills but also of their social skills and team spirit. 1 and half hour past flew and it was time for judgment e. Cape Monze group had made a wonderful Turtle with minute details and it looked almost real and they bagged the first position. The Sandspit group, who had made a Merman and a Pearl Shell, stood 2nd  and the sculpture of a Salt Mine by the Hawks bay group got the  3rd, position a model of Sea Aquarium by the Paradise Point group was last and last but not least teachers had made Fruit Basket which sadly wasn’t in the competition.

Back at our hut we were preparing for the Magrib Isha namaz while at the mawaid dinner was being cooked. It was Sandspit’s turn to volunteer in preparing and serving the dinner. For dinner we had two kinds of burgers and drinks. Teachers also joined hands in assembling the burgers. After tea was served, students were all ready to go back to WWF Wetland Centre to be briefed by Mr. Barbar Hussain on the Green Turtles which come to our beaches to lay eggs. His explanation included the differentiation between a turtle and tortoise; the different types of turtles and the one which comes to our shores; their eggs laying process; and Do’s and Don’ts in Turtle Watching. After the explanation he took us to the Turtle beach, where a mother turtle was in the egg laying process. It was the most exciting moment for the students as most of them had seen this huge creature and her egg laying for the first time and they also closely observe the egg which was round, soft and haram too.. Another surprise in store for them was the visit of Al Masool Janab Shaikh Mustafa bhai Jack, which sparked up their excitement a great deal. It was late night and we had a long day but the excitement had made students more energetic. Then came another electrifying announcement, each group would get to release a day old baby turtle in the sea in form of a competition that whose young one reaches the beach first. At the sound of the whistle each group released their baby turtle, encouraging them in their own ways and finally the young turtle released by the Sandspit group won the race. At around 12:30 am we returned to our hut.

Yet another activity!! In school there would be sounds of yawning and snoring, but here everyone was agog and the sounds were Oooh’s and Aah’s   ‘The Camp Fire’ activity started with the recitation of Al Quran followed by the recitation of Qasida Sharifa of Syedna Tahir Saifuddin R.A in which Moula had touched on the dimensions of “The Sea” in Fatemi Adab. Nasihat of Syedi Sadiq Ali Saheb Q.A was also recited and how Syedi Saheb Q.A has used sea to reveal higher meanings. Then the camp fire skits round commenced, where each group had to present their skits in the given time. The Hawks bay group presented the scene of an English Classroom of Government school and stood 1st. likewise other groups also presented humorous but meaningful skits. At 2:00 am the Campfire Program ended as it had been a long day, sleep was most welcome.

At dawn we were up for fajr namaz, after which, facing the panoramic view of the sea and the sunrise, we had Daur of Al Quran and Tilawat ofAdiyat from the Hafti.

Now was the time for another exquisite feature of the educational camp, the Morning Walk. First it was slow walking and climbing until we reached the French Beach then the walk changed into jogging till we reached the other end of the beach.  On the way back students had to look for some interesting find, and the student with the most interesting find would be rewarded. The walk back was really slow as students keenly observed and scrutinized everything, so they could get their hands on something unique.

After a while students sat on a tiny mound of sand to relax, they closed their eyes and listened to the sound of nature in complete silence for 10 minutes. They noted all the different sounds and also penned their feelings and reflections aroused by the sound of the rhythmic waves. After the long morning walk we were back to the camp to find a scrumptious breakfast awaiting us.

After the children had their fill they were briefed by Janab M. Abbas bhai about the geographical features from the memory books and later on they were taken to the coast to actually see them.. It was a lesson for us all, that simplest of things can hold the deepest of learning, one only needs to be keen and observant. As Syedi Sadiq Ali Saheb said

Khilkat Khuda ni goya Khuda nu kitab che ÖAakil ne ye ghate ke mutaallu kara lkare
We identified sediments in the rock different layering of the rocks, and other features like a notchcave, etc.
Then we off to the Paradise Point with the same purpose. There we saw Layering in the rocks, and understood the process of sea cutting the land. Going on the other side of the spot we saw a Stack, which is formed on a headland. There children learned that first it’s a headland then waves cut it a bit to form a notch. This notch later grows bigger by the power of waves to become a cave, the cave widens to form an arch, and the arch when it becomes weak falls and a stack remains. We all climbed the headland and then in groups we went near the stack where Janab M. Shamoil bhai briefed them it. The sound of the soothing waves and splashing of the water was unforgettable as learning in the real environment is.

We were in our bus again to visit yet another site that is Cape Monze, where we saw cliffs and how they are cut by the waves. We returned back and now it was time for pure fun, as the sun was so hot and the water so cool, students rushed to the inviting sea to play and frolic and some also had great time riding on camels and horses. Well our Camp was coming to an end so we returned to the hut, prayed Namaz, had lunch and tea, bags were packed and we were off to our homes, taking with us a treasure trove of incredible memories, priceless learning and unforgettable experiences.

On Monday 20th of October al-Madrasa had organized a follow up activity of the Educational Camp, where students of class 7th & 8th were shown a pictorial overview of the camp and students belonging to different groups shared their learning on the topics covered by the trip. Distribution of the participation certificates and certificates awarding for best memory book, best sand sculpture, best camp fire skit etc followed the program.With the Dua and Nazaraat of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin TUS this camp was an outstanding experience for all of us whether a student or a teacher and it has etched, long-lasting impressions on our mind, which we all will cherish for life. May Allah bless our beloved Moula TUS with a long & healthy life till the Day of Judgment.