This Year So Far

Hey Nashta students this is Musa Thompson from A.V.I.D. It has been awhile since I last posted, and a lot has since then. For one this past summer I played a lot of basketball which is my favorite sport. I not positive that you play it a lot down there, but it is well known over here. I did a lot of sleeping and watching T.V. as well which was very relaxing since there wasn’t any school over summer vacation. After the summer ended I wasn’t too excited for school to start back, but it got better as the year went along. My basketball season started up and I became Captain of my team which basically means I was chosen to be the person that is looked to for guidance, advice, motivation, those kind of things. After the season ended I began doing an art class, so i’m starting to get pretty good again. A few days ago I was making pictures for seven hours straight, and they all came out as okay pictures.
I am still in that art class, and it is rather challenging but i’ll make it. Well that is my year so far, and try and blog back and tell me about your year so far.

Looks like Nashta alive once more after summer break

Greetings from America!

Hi friends from India! Its me CJ and I figured I’d fill you guys in on current events here in America. To begin, the Super Bowl happened relatively recently, and the Partiots won. Did you guys hear about this? It’s one of the most viewed events in America and is the championship game for the best of the best of football. Things pertaining to me, I’ve been listening to a Christian rock/metal band named Demon Hunter, I enjoy their music thoroughly. What kinds of music do you guys listen to in Mumbai? I also wanted to ask how fitness is in India? Do you guys do weight lifting or something of the sort? I’ve been exercising quite often here in America at the gym in my school. I’ve also continued Mixed Martial Arts with my twin brother Jeremy. In terms of class here in PW, I’m taking a class called global studies and we recently studied world religions. I learned that Hinduism is the most common religion in India, do any of you follow the practices of Hinduism? Lastly, It was recently Valentines day, a day where you express you’re love to your family and significant other. What holidays do you guys have in India? I’m glad to finally be talking about Nashta Exchange again and I’d love to hear from you guys!

Nashta Students

IMG_1182Screen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.08.13 AMScreen Shot 2015-02-11 at 10.10.45 AMHII GUYS!!!

My name is Gabby (I’m the blonde) to my right is Daniella and to my left is CJ. We are very excited to talk to you guys!

We just wanted to tell you a bit of what has been going on in our lives and are very interested in what’s going on in yours!

Valentines day is this weekend, if you don’t know what that is its a day devoted to love basically materialistic and corny. At our school, theres a thing called cupid’s cuties in which senior boys are chosen to deliver a rose to anyone you want them to, for an amount of money. They make a fool out of themselves for love.

Daniella and I specifically have been friends since we were in the middle school, now being 10th graders, we started our friendship being in the musical Oklahoma together. Since then we’ve had our ups and downs, but are great friends!

Id like to hear about your daily lives, mine consists of waking up at 530 am, dreading school, getting ready and going to the bus stop. I go throughout my school day and leave here at 2:20, go home to my puppies and mom and dad, and usually find time to be with friends.

Daniella’s life consists of waking up at 5:50, going to the bus stop and then getting to school, afterwards, she goes home and finishes her homework and then paints or draws because she loves art. She also spends a lot of time with her little sister and mom and dad because they are very close.

We’d love to hear about your daily life! Please tell us more.

Right now in class we are focusing on this reflection paper on Alex Sheen. His story is really interesting! At his father’s funeral he wanted to do something else so he started “Because I said i would” which is a nonprofit organization that focuses on only keeping your promises and commitments. Mrs Edwards printed us all out “Because I said I would” cards so we could all make our promises and once we have made them we give them to someone else and get the card back once we completed the promise.

What a difference a year makes…

AkankshaStudentsAvidPlymouthHighThis time last year we had just had our first cooking session. I remember anxiously planning, and making an epic Ikea trip picking up supplies, and my own family helping me wash and pack cooking kits. With Ms. Edwards’ help we were able to organize the room and students. At that time I barely knew everyone though everyone was starting to show their personalities. We were just starting out. I remember getting such a high after our first cooking session proved to be a success. Now a year later, I still get that high each time I see the students, but it’s a new type of high. Instead of first-day nervous jitters, it’s the thrill of coming back home to family and friends after being gone for a while. In just one year we have learned to work together in the kitchen and formed a Nashta Exchange team that plays on and off the court. More importantly we have perfected making Pav Bhaji and have been able to blog, connect, and help our friends abroad. We have been able to practice our computer skills, as well as our English reading, writing and comprehension.

Now a year later we are closer and our Nashta Exchange family keeps growing. Ms. Edwards’ welcomed her baby girl Ethyn and there are new smiling faces in both the American and Indian classrooms. In January, I was able to visit our friends at the Akanksha Foundation. Some were taller and all were definitely wiser. Earlier this month, I also visited the Philadelphia classroom and the same could be said about them.

It was obvious after each visit that both groups of kids were a family and we hope to bring the two families closer together.

Happy Snacking!


Hello From Mumbai!

Sumita, Faahim, ReshmaWe wanted to to share some of the news that everyone is talking about here (the good and the bad.) Right now in India there has been unseasonal rains. The rains and hailstorms have destroyed framer’s lives and crops such as wheat , jowar and sugarcane. Fruits like oranges, pomegranates mango and grapes have been affected. The farmers had hoped that a good crop this year would help them to clear their debt but their hopes have been shattered. The government has approved over thousands of crores for relief to the farmers. The children of the farmers have helped their fathers for hours on the fields. After so much hard work, seeing the farms washed out is not easy. But the kids are telling their parents not to lose hope.

We have also recently had elections in India. There are three main political parties. 1) Bharatiya Janta Party, Aam Aadmi Party, and Congress. The three leaders of these parties who are contesting for the post of the Prime Minister are Narendra Modi, Arvind Kejriwal and Rahul Gandhi respectively. All the leaders are promising a lot to the people. Its going to be very difficult for the people to decide who to vote for. Rahul Gandhi is promoting women’s empowerment. However, the promises the candidates are making are never ending. They are creating so many jobs but still one out of three graduates are unemployed. Thats why so many people are going abroad in search of employment. Caste based politics is still a major problem in India and part of the election and film stars are roped in for the election campaigns.

The Supreme court has created a “none of the above button” while casting your vote. Some did not want to vote for anyone after reading about the amount of corruption in the country, but with this option of “none of the above”, it seems as though more people want to vote.

Whats going on on your end?

——Faahim, Reshma, Umesh, Sumita,

Lunch Table

IMG_1206Tribute to La-Dasha…

Gabriel~ Lunch here in america is very different from lunch for you guys, at least that’s what Noopur tells me. It starts off when i hear the schools jingle ringing through the classrooms air. I get up from my seat and travel to the hallway where there’s a stampede of students to greet me. After i join them in the mix of things i make my way around the corner to the lunch lines. Its an agonizing wait for my food as we all like ants huddle close together on our way through the little doorway to lines of food waiting for us. Like mini conveyor belts the students move out from in front of me until I’m standing before the stacks of burgers, fries, hot-dogs, and salads. We have so many choices to choose from and everyday there’s something new to pick. Although the food is very greasy and filling it allows us to make it through the day on a full belly. The only problem is that right after we eat our variety of meals we all share one thing…”The Itis”. It plagues all High School students. After eating a large meal we get very sleepy, almost in a trance and are basically falling asleep for the next few classes. Although we share different lives and food choices we do share one thing in common, we all like to eat. This is just a little window into what lunch is like for me and what makes it “LUNCH”.

What We Loved about cooking Pav Bhaji

IMG_1147Two students cooking at Plymouth Meeting High.Ever since our teacher Ms.Edwards asked us to stay after school so we could cook Pav Bhaji, we were already excited. We didn’t know much about the food, or how we would make it, but it was really interesting that we were all going to be working together, and we all agreed. That day, Noopur explained what the dish was, how we make it, and how we were all gonna have different jobs. Each of us was assigned different vegetables to cut, and separated into groups to put the ingredients in the pot and cook. The coolest part of it was, at the end all three batches turned out really different: one was more soupy, one was more pasty and one was more crunchy. But they were all still really good!
Daniella’s favorite part was toasting the pav with the ghee because she thought it was really good and she got to help everyone make their pav, not just her own. Gabby’s favorite part was when she made the mistake of mixing up the carrots and the tomatoes because it ended up being a good thing and made the dish better! It’s a very forgiving dish, which was nice because we were all very new to cooking it. Lauren’s favorite part was walking around to all the different groups and having fun with all her friends while making something that turned out really good.
Eating the Pav Bhaji was really interesting because it’s so different from the foods we normally eat! We’re used to foods like pizza, which is a dough with tomato sauce and cheese that’s baked in an oven in a circular shape and cut into wedges, and french fries, thinly sliced potatoes dipped in a batter and deep fried. Lauren especially loved Nutella, a chocolate and hazelnut spread used to put on bread, fruit, or anything really! Is Pav Bhaji a staple food in your homes? What else do you guys eat a lot?

~Lauren, Daniella, and Gabby


After cooking Pav Bhaji, it filled us with felicity because we were cooking for a cause that would help many people. When we tasted the Pav Bhaji it was amazing because we made it ourselves. While we were cooking, we learned how to mince, cut vegetables, and work together. This overall experience was liberating and it made us feel helpful. We can’t wait to come together and cook it again.

Pav Bhaji Fun

IMG_1215IMG_1191Having the experience of making Pav Bhaji was both fun and exciting. In our group we started with peeling peas and chopping garlic. The whole class contributed to chopping, sauteing and peeling all of the vegetables.
We buttered and toasted the rolls while pulling the tables together. All of us pulled chairs over to the table and ate as a class.
Pav Bhaji was delicious and new. Making it was such a good time and we all enjoyed ourselves while acting like a family. All three pots we made were eaten, or taken home to give to our families.

-Julianna, Ali B, Ali V, and Alexa

My First Taste

Despite my heart and my belly being FULL of Pav Bhaji love, I felt like jumping for joy. I remember eating Pav Bhaji with my siblings years ago as teens thinking that starting a Pav Bhaji stand here in the states would be the most amazing business idea. Years later, the project developed into a way of helping students across boarders and its exciting to see it all coming together. Ms. Edwards and her AVID class at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School, myself and my sister Neha (who tagged along and in the spirit of togetherness) cooked for the first time as a team. We divided ourselves up into 3 groups and took over the Home Ec classroom. We started a marathon of chopping ingredients and then moved to the stoves. High points included Josh’s professional like chopping skills with the garlic, the girls so lovingly de-shelling the peas, the insane amounts of ghee (clarified butter) that was used, and James telling me his name was Jamal! I could have most definitely done without the stinky cauliflower smell once it got chopped up and wished I could have saved Mia from all of the onion tears.

All in all, my sister and I, were was blown away by how gracious everyone was. Not only were the students (and lets not forget Ms. Edwards) a blast to hang out with, but they were also polite and charming. Everyone got right to cleaning, doing the dishes, and putting all the cookware away. The students even took all of my boxes of supplies out to my car after we were done. I felt spoiled, lucky, and happy! WAH WAH!