Sorry sorry sorry that we have been useless at keeping you up to date. It’s been more than hectic here, as we have now met with Becky from Oasis and have booked in many more things into the timetable. It’s looking like we are pretty much booked up till August 28th now!
Yes, Maria speaks the truth, we have survived an earthquake here in Chennai. More importantly there have been some major movements on the money front. After many discussions and thoughts and ideas it seems that we have decided what we are spending most of the funds on. The major project (as we may have mentioned) is extending the size of Tondiarapet Community Centre. Currently the site is unsecure and therefore is not being used effectively. We will be significantly increasing the size and security of the building which will hopefully breath new life into it, and allow the community to develop new programmes including education.
We have also said yes to many repairs at the Boys Town and School, including reconnecting the power to the main hall (currently very hot and sweaty, and dark with no fans or lights). Further to that we are buying new benches for Fort School, which will mean that classes that are currently sitting on the floor will be able to sit at a desk.
There are many other small, and medium things on the list of yes’s, which we will inform you of in more detail when we have a bit more time. For now – Oasis:
Some great things happening here. We met with Becky and she informed the team of the work that Oasis are doing here in Chennai. We then sat down and booked in a number of things that we will be helping with. This includes English speaking lessons (thank you Emma!), cross-stitch classes (thank you Sarah!), dance classes (thank you Liv!); fun station afterschool clubs (thanks all!); and early morning football training (well done Nathan and Emma). We will also be helping to paint a new multi-purpose hall that has been acquired for further activities. Oasis primarily work in slum communities, so we have now had some experience of walking through slum towns and meeting people in their home communities. This has been quite daunting and quite scary, as well as moving and incredibly humbling.
Two more important pieces of news before I go. Firstly, it is one of Chennai Challenges aims to build links between organisations currently working in Chennai, and we have now been given the opportunity to do this really obviously. Becky spoke to us about the fact that they have been looking for more rooms to do their inclusion projects, and afterschool tuition and fun stations, and asked about the community centre in Egmore (one of the three YMCA centres). We have spoken to Ebi, and it looks as if there will be a joint program running at Egmore provided by YMCA and Oasis. This is exciting news!
Secondly, and perhaps more excitingly; having spoken to Ebi, we have been informed that the battle over land at Fort School is over, and the Government want the YMCA to build a new school building there to provide a better education for the slum children who attend the school. We are hoping next year to have this as a main project. This will take a LOT of funds, so get ready for some super fund raising in the year to come! We will be getting rough estimates before we leave at the end of August. How amazing if we can help the YMCA to build a new school with better facilities?!
Well, we have had some people with tiredness and a little sickness, but generally everyone is in good spirits. Please pray for good health and energy for the holiday camp at Yelligiri particularly.
And now we’re off to various Independence Day Eve Celebrations. We will have fun I’m sure. I’m particularly looking forward to Biryani.
SEE YA LATERS!!
p.s. Ollie has spent a LOT of money on clothes. Nearly 40 pounds on one outfit! It’s very fancy.