Hi. My name is Touseef and I am going to be a senior at Bronx Lab School in the fall. This is the first time I have ever been camping and I am happy to be here. I moved to New York from Pakistan last summer and wanted to come on this trip so I could learn more about the United States and do some more biking. In Pakistan, my dad bought me a bike and I biked with my brother to and from school every day. Sometimes my brother and I would ride the same bike, he would be in the front and I would be in the back.
After the long day in Ripley yesterday I woke up today excited for more fun coming up. I arrived at the breakfast table and Rachel informed me that I was the leader of the day, which excited me even more as I was going to lead the entire biking crew, which was an honor for me. After breakfast Chuck showed me the map to our destination, which was John Bryant State Park. We had a long journey of almost 40 miles. I was very nervous as I was biking again after almost 4 years, which was a long time. We started our ride and made a couple of stops. I was nervous in the beginning of the ride, but as we went on I got stronger and stronger. Yesterday we learned about the slaves who had to walk miles and miles to get to Canada. I thought about them as we were riding in the sun, thirsty and hungry and tired at times.
When we arrived at the campsite everyone was tired, but I was very happy to have led my group safely. We set up our tents and then went to a pool in Yellow Springs to swim. When we all were swimming my friend Andrew dived in the water and he didn’t realize how deep the water was and thought he was drowning but thanks to the lifeguard and my best friend Basil they were able to get to him. We swam for a long time and then came back to the campsite to eat dinner. We made burritos and rice and beans, which was very similar to Pakistani food that I eat.
This month is Ramadan and I am supposed to be fasting, but because we are biking so much I have to put the fasting on hold. I might try to make up for the days I miss fasting when I get home. I think that the reason we fast during Ramadan is to know the value of food and to better understand people who are hungry and poor. Even though I can’t fast during the trip because of the biking, I think Ramadan helps me to understand what the people who were escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad went through.
I am so thankful that my friend, Basil who is also from Pakistan, is here on this trip with me.
After dinner, we had a surprise birthday party for Chalani. Her friend, Nailea, made her cupcakes and brought balloons for her. Now we have to write in our journals and get to bed early because tomorrow we are riding 60 miles and Basil is going to be the leader.
I want to thank Rachel, Josh, Joaquin, Chuck, Basil and all the other students on the trip for making this a great experience and something that will help me later in life.