All the independent countries now stand up.

So then, India is Independent, Hoorah! 62years of and yet it somehow feels slightly odd being here and joining in the celebrations. We do celebrate however, and are always made very welcome. Almost too welcome at some points.

Anyway to get to the point, we split the team in two to go to different celebrations on Independence Eve celebrations, half at YMCA Roypettah and half at YMCA Esplanade. A good time was had by all and at Roypettah we enjoyed a fine selection of music, some speeches that were very good and Rob wasn’t asked to give a speech. However Rob did need to present someone with a gift (and could even open a shawl effectively) and the group was asked to sing a song. We obliged with ‘Our God is an awesome God’. Nathan mimed, it was for the best. The evening ended with a good biryani meal, but in a slightly odd way in that we were given it as a takeaway and went away.

Meanwhile at Esplanade there was some dancing from local school children (from the YMCA Fort school no less) more speeches and such. Cathy did have to make a speech, with someone elses name crossed off the running order. This group even got to eat at Esplanade.

Saturday was Independence day itself, and so started at 7.30 with a flag hoisting at Vepery. After this we split in to 5 groups to visit celebrations at the 3 YMCA community centres, Kottivakkum school and an Oasis school. All of this was very exciting, with us doing some flag pulling and looking official, Liv had to do a small speech (which she ‘borrowed’ from things Bernard and Cathy had said the night before), school exercise books were given out at Sathumanagar, we bought breakfast for people at Sathumanagar and Egmore, and a cultural program was enjoyed at Kottivakkum.

All quite busy so far. We eventually all returned to Vepery at various times, in time to get some lunch and prepare for Boys Town. Well it would have been fine, except for Prince. Prince asked for a few people to lend a hand at a fair and took 7 team members! So they went and manned the YMCA hoopla stall and had a good time (possibly including a water fight, mainly caused by Maria). They managed to get just in time to go out again to Boys Town, with Prince buying them a takeaway lunch. Those who had been left behind had also bought them a takeaway lunch, but such is life.

Boys Town was absolutly crazy! We did seem to get 131 boys completely hyped up with our songs and silly anticts. Games that defy Health and safety were played, throwing tennis balls at each other (60 tennis balls flying around, madness) and frisbee (or should that be frishbee) games that got a little mad as well. Eventually we calmed down to do the banner of hands that should have been done already. Whilst this was going on Becky from Oasis was visiting the site, having a look round and seeing what it is we do. She was impressed by our energy. This is good.
The Boys are very excited about Yellagiri and so are we.

So, we sped back to Vepery (literally) with the driver trying to be clever and going down oneway streets the wrong way, and ending up in a very narrow street, that was meant for minibuses like ours. It was nice to see how willing people are to just move other peoples scooters and motorbikes out of the way, with no notion of asking.
After a quick freshening up we were out To Ebi’s house for dinner, which was brilliant. Asir, George and Edwin also joined us as Ebi thanked us for our work, and we performed our party piece, ‘electricity’ from Billy Elliot.

What a day.

Sunday was not so eventful.

there was a church feature for some in the morning, and sleeping for others.
After this we took a trip to Spencer Plaza to do a bit of personal shopping and money changing.
Rob and Sarah went to by Material with George so we can get a set of clothes made for each of the boys at Boys Town, as well as some kitchen utensils for them.
Then the day seemed to just drift away until now.

Tomorrow we visit Mallapurum, and then Wednesday is Yellagiri Hills!

Oh, I also forgot to mention that there has been quite a bit of variation in peoples ‘motions’ so to speak. Both in the consistency and urgency. Nothing major, but we have had a couple of people sit out from some activities.

Right then, we will try to get here again before Yellagiri, until then, Toodle pip!

Rob

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