Today we experienced that wonderful thing India Time. Yesterday I planned for us to be able to visit Fort School and see the work that they do there. It is an important time in the project as the team get to look around a school that provides an amazing education for underprivileged children from the local slums. Last year we pledged 10lakh Rupees (that’s somewhere around 1200GBP with the current exchange rate) towards a rebuilding project here. We have been informed that this project has received the necessary planning permissions and the foundation stone will be laid before we leave! This is obviously very exciting. However I must get back to my original thought – At 10pm last night the Indian Government confirmed that today would be a national holiday for all Government Schools! AT 10PM the night before! Goodness only knows how the children knew not to go to school. Perhaps most of them didn’t! Still, it was a shame because it meant that we had to cancel our visit to the school as it would have been locked up with no children present.
Well, our other plan was not prevented as we were able to visit our good friend Prince at Esplanade Branch of the YMCA. This branch was originally the head office of the Madras YMCA and was built in 1890. The building is beautiful in a colonial kind of a way, and we are able to stand on the roof and look over the city. This year we were also able to play some Carom, Chess, Table Tennis and Billiards in the members area. Prince brought us some Rose Milk (a new experience!) to try. I quite enjoyed my glass, but when other people started handing me theirs the sweetness became a little too much. I still think better Rose Milk than Butter Milk!
Then we dropped in at Spencer Plaza for some lunch before heading to Kottivakkam for another fun packed session.
One thing I do want to mention is our thoughts for the day. As part of the Chennai Challenge each team member must present a thought for the day at some point. This can be a question based on our experiences, a poem or extract from a book, a memory, a Christian moral or pretty much anything really. It is a time to reflect on the new experiences we are having and to share the things we are noticing. So far this year they have been really brilliant. Yesterday Kieron talked about the importance of saying WHY NOT? Instead of WHY? Resetting our default position to something more open and willing to try things is really important when in India – especially so with Chennai Challenge.
Charlotte gave us a thought this morning in which we were able to share the positive things that have come out of our preparation for this year’s project. It was really exciting to talk about how many people have heard about Chennai Challenge – and about how generous a response the people on the project have received from supporters. Family, Friends and Colleagues were mentioned in detail – so thank you to all who have supported this year’s team. Your support has not gone unnoticed.
Well, must get to bed now. I’m a bit tired (as we all are!) and tomorrow will be another busy day!
So for now, here’s me – signing off! I’m sure I am not the only blogger tonight, so sorry if we have repeated each other. Enjoy the rest of the Olympics – GO TEAM GB! (I mostly enjoyed watching Andy Murray bring home his gold while we were on our day off in Yellagiri!) See you soon!