The First Meeting

Well hello there! I’m currently typing this this on the train home from London after the first team meeting. Chloe and I just had quite a scare as the train was stopped due to no electricity or something. We thought we were never going to get home! The elderly gentleman next to me has told me all about his children and grandchildren, and then enquired about our reason for going to London and asked all about Chennai Challenge. I obviously told him all about it (and a big shout out to him if he’s reading this!).

Anyway, back to the meeting! As the first step in our journey towards Chennai in August (or maybe second step if you include actually signing up as the first), it was great to meet everyone on team!

After an introduction and brief history of Chennai Challenge from Rob and Emma, this year’s project leaders, we had a team-building challenge set to us by Tamsin. Our mission was to create a bridge for a packet of polos with marshmallows and dry spaghetti – a major obstacle being not eating too many of the marshmallows! I’m sure you’ll be glad to know that all teams accomplished the mission successfully!

Throughout the day, we saw lots of pictures from previous trips to get ideas of what we might do in Chennai, and a flavour of what we might expect.

Rob then talked about Yellagiri and “the boys” who really make the time in Chennai what it is. They are the boys who live at the YMCA orphanage in Chennai whom we take on an activity holiday to Yellagiri, run after school sessions with, get to know and then support by getting them school books, wash bags, buckets etc. Rob talked about making the boys laugh by making a fool of yourself or being silly…

…And then it was my turn to do a song! Standing in front a group of adults, some of whom i didn’t know before today, and getting them to join in a camp-fire-call-and-repeat-action-song would probably not be something I’d have ever done, or attempted to do, before going to Chennai, where it just sort of happens and becomes second nature.

We also talked about fundraising, and I only thought about it afterwards, but my top tip would be getting a bulk of wristbands or something similar made and personalised to sell. The bonuses to this is that people feel they are getting something for their money, and it gives you a purpose to ask for money, especially after giving a talk at school, church or youth group etc. Its easier to say to friends “would you like to buy a wristband” than “would you like give me money”…even though its ultimately the same outcome for you!! (Often people give you more than the £1 or so you ask for too!)

Raising money is hardwork, but it’s exciting to know that we (as the Chennai Challenge team of 2014!) get to decide where and how the money is spent whilst in India. And then you can come back to England with trillions of photos and say “look what we did, look what we made happen”.

Think that links very nicely into the quote Emma used in the ‘thought for the day’…

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Ghandi.

Looking forward to the meeting numero dos (or “irende”, in Tamil haha!),

Mary
Xx

P.s. Just for you chloe – here’s our train-station-selfie….

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