One of the joys of visiting Chennai is the famous Fruit Shop on Greams Road. This shop does not sell, as the name might suggest, fruit – but rather fruit juices and milkshakes of many MANY varieties. Indeed this very afternoon the lads of Team A (and Emma) had a bit of a lad’s night out, visiting Spencer Plaza to change project money, personal money and grab a juice. Following this we had what I would probably describe as one of the best and most exciting Auto rides of my life.
I have ridden many Auto Rickshaws. I have experienced hair raising journeys, misunderstandings, races and much more. But I must say that this took the biscuit. I am not even really sure why, or indeed how to explain what made this journey more exciting than others, but there it is. There were 5 of us, Nick, Rob, Barney, Emma and myself. There was one Auto driver. There was a journey we’ve never taken before. There was juice in our veins. There were bumps in the road. There were Barney’s legs sticking out of the side of the Auto. There was an argument with another Auto driver. There were non descript hand movements from Rob and Isaac in the back seat. There were pot holes. There was team spirit. There was driving the wrong way down the road. There was an extra Rs.10 for the awesome driver.
On a more important note, we have met now with Danny at Oasis to make sure that we know what activities we can visit with them. As Charlotte mentioned, one of these was Blue Edge (a spoken English, IT and life skills course for disadvantaged young men and women trying to access higher education), also we will be visiting the Government School in the BV colony, Vyasarpadi – one of the projects we spent a lot of time at last year. As well, of course as Football with Vijayan in the mornings. Unfortunately tomorrow’s football has been rained off already as we experienced a brief downpour this evening that has flooded their pitch. We are also hoping to visit a couple of funstations for children in one of the slum communities Oasis work in.
Today we also visited YMCA Fort School. This school is one that caters for children of a slum nearby to Fort St George, providing a free education. Over a thousand pupils are housed in a very small, hot and dark series of classrooms immediately next to the railway station. For many years we have tried to raise money to be able to contribute to the rebuilding of this dilapidated site. This year we have the potential to make a real difference by contributing to the renovation of one section of the site. This is really exciting to us, as until now we have only been able to provide benches for the students to sit on so that classes can still continue in spite of the rain. Perhaps this year we will be able to see work begin on this vital and exciting project. We will keep you updated on the progress in this area.
Preparations for Yellagiri are also well underway. Fairground games are nearly ready and bags and boxes are being packed and labelled ready for transportation to the hills with the boys on Tuesday. The other thing that is exciting is that we are expecting Team B’s arrival in a mere 3 days.
It has been very strange for us to be away from the UK and hear news of the rioting. I imagine it feels the same there, but it all seems a little unreal over here. Our thoughts and prayers are with our friends and family in the areas affected, especially with Oasis who have their No3 Housing Project in Peckham. Please also bear them in mind at this difficult time.
Well – that’s all from us. I hope you are enjoying the blogs! Let us know you’re there by commenting underneath this one. Thanks all.