Yesterday was very busy. It started early with Yemma, Tamsin and Barney waking at 5:50am for football with Oasis. Once they successfully navigated their way to the football ground, they joined Vijayan John (Oasis football coach) for an under 12′s training session. This experience really shows the difference that can be made to slum children’s lives. They relish in this opportunity to train and play football and show this through the respect given to their coach!
More Yelligiri preparations took place during the day and then in the afternoon we had contact time with two different programmes. Cathy, Rob, Barney, Nick and Flo went to Blue edge, whilst Isaac, Yemma, Charlotte, Ellie and Tamsin went to BV Colony Government school (Sarah remained at the base to continue painting puzzles for Yelligiri).
Flo came back from blue edge with the most bizarre story, see below;
“The experience at Blue Edge was one that I will never forget. Having simply informed the students that my favourite hobby was ‘dancing’, I couldn’t have predicted the later turn of events, when after the lesson I was bombarded with a room full of shouting Indians requesting me to do just that…… “dance!”. The music choices were most interesting and I have to say that I don’t think my parents would have been proud if I had indeed started busting moves to “Smack that” and “My humps”!
Aside from of the shock of being asked to perform on the spot, the lesson filled me with a strange feeling. It felt very odd to hear your own language being learnt and repeated back to you. All I can say, is that the sheer energy and enthusiasm of the students was overwhelming. There’s something about Indian culture that fills you with warmth and leaves you wishing that you could generate that same spark and energy for life yourself.“
BV colony school was also a great success. On arrival we met a few students in the playground, they soon realised we had visited the previous year and unexpectedly they remembered mine and Isaac’s name. This struck a chord with me, as I suddenly realised how important these small encounters are. It is amazing to see how a small visit can mean so much to these children and how they appreciate the time we give them. The session was fantastic. We taught them how to go into a shop and purchase items.This was done through key vocabulary and a role play game, which they really enjoyed. Some children stayed to talk after the session, one boy taking the time to say that the session was ‘super’ and thankyou.
Another highlight of yesterday was the meal at Prince’s House (one of the YMCA secretaries). Prince always enjoys making us feel welcome in Chennai with a meal and often a trip to the cinema. Last night at 7pm we all eagerly waited to go to his house for a meal. When we got there, Prince proudly showed off his latest addition to the family, his son Clifford. We then sat watching Cathy holding and making a fuss over Clifford for 20mins (and she says she doesn’t like small children!! )
The meal consisted of a range of very spicy foods, one of which was biryiani. The majority of the team struggled with the spice however managed to eat a small amount. The surprise came from Yemma (me!) who seeing how much effort had gone into making us feel so welcome could not bring herself to not eat the food provided, and therefore ate more than most of the team!
We now wait for team B’s arrival tonight and are enjoying a small amount of free time today. The excitement for Yelligiri is building and preparations are nearly complete, however Flo has yet to buy MORE bamboo sticks! I’m sure her persuasive charm will assist her with this task!