So, here I am, sitting in Joy & Joy Internet Cafe for the last time for at least a year, possibly longer. I only have time to write a quick blog, as we leave for the airport in 4 hours and I still haven’t packed.
I just wanted to say a public thank you to Chennai Challenge, to Rob, Cathy and Isaac, to Al, Jackie, Fraser, Shauni, Flo, Suzanne, Sarah and Nick – my friends and companions from Team A, to Lynn, Kate, Rachel, Bex, Emma, Becky, Barney, Steve, Liv and Ross – our friends and successors in Team B who are bound to continue to be absolutely fantastic and have an amazing next 8 days, to the staff at the YMCA and Oasis, and to Chennai and its amazing people for an awesome 3 weeks that I will never forget. I don’t care how soppy it makes me seem, this experience has definitely changed me, I’ve met 6 year olds who have inspired me and smelt smells that will stick with me forever. Today was horrendously hard, we went to Boys’ Town to say our goodbyes. The compound was 80% under water, so much so that as many of the boys as possible had been sent to stay with whatever relatives they have, meaning we only actually got to say goodbye to 20-30 of the lads. Still though, it was gut-wrenchingly difficult, knowing what and who we leaving after all we’d been through. I really really believe we have made bonds with some of those boys that would last the rest of our lives given the chance, and to leave them so soon, and in the circumstances we were doing so, was awful. I didn’t say a word on the bus journey home, partly as I spent the first half of the journey in tears, partly as I genuinely had nothing to say that felt anywhere close to appropriate or adequate in the situation. I just hope we leave them having made a difference in some small way, and that one day, when I return, things are better.
I don’t want to babble on for ages tonight, so I wont. We’ve had an amazing send off at the YMCA tonight with music and food, and the planes await. I just want to express my gratitude to everyone involved for giving me the opportunity to experience what I have experienced since I signed up to be a part of this amazing charity. It’s made me a better person, I hope.
Love, love and love,