A trip around Chennai

Hello and welcome to day 5 in the Chennai Challenge camp.

We started the day today with an awesome thought for the day from Scary Mary (she’s not really scary-its an in joke). We all read a bit of a poem about being special and individuals and then we all drew around both of our hands and passed it around the group and we all had to write a word or more about each person on their hand.

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This morning our time was spent on a bus travelling around the various branches and centres of the YMCA. We first visited Fort school which always goes down well with the team. It was great to see the end of demolishing of the old building that we have pledged some money to rebuild.
As ever we caused some distractions to lessons and managed to get a sneak peak during rehersals for the Independence Day celebrations and some will be able to experience the whole thing in a weeks time. We all had time to ask the headmistress questions and as ever found the schools pass rate still remains at the impressive 100%.

Next we visited Sathamanager community centre. This is the very small centre in a busy commumity which is so well used for various activities but is not at all fit for purpose. Every year we aim to help them as we are asked but for various reasons the time has never been right as their seems to be other areas to focus our money. This year we all hope that we will be able to help improve this communities centre to aid them in the activities they carry out and keep the community spirit going.

Next we visited Tondiarepet community centre which is the centre that the 2009 team widened and raised the ceiling of. It was great to see how well kept the building was and even had some improvements of a new floor. They have plans to hold Yoga classes but were asking for ideas (if we had any) of how the building could be used. Without fail word had travelled in the close community and by the time we left we had a crowd staring, waving, asking for photos etc.
Next we made our way to the oldest YMCA building Esplanade. It is undergoing some refurbishment currently and the bright games area definately looked good. Here we were treated (as with every other place) refreshments, at Esplanade they bought us some caramel custard which looked a bit like creme brulee, some enjoyed some did not (yemma) some ended up on a bit of a sugar rush.

Unlike any other times i’ve been to India we also visited Kilpauk branch run by George our chaperone for the day. He told us about the hostel they have and the amazing price of rooms, 1250rs per month which is about £12. The centre appears to be very busy with all their activities, we even enjoyed playong some of the activities such as badminton, pool amd tennis (badminton and tennis not so great in the Indian heat) then a cool down and refreshments before heading back to Vepery to meet the board.

Meeting the board is always fun but we werent quite sure what to expect when they told us it would be high tea. To our surprise we had a banquet of English food, cheese sandwiches, chicken nuggets, chips, trifle, bread pudding. All very tasty. We all had a great opportunity to talk to the members of the board.

Now I am sitting in the foyer of YMCA about to head to the cinema!!!! Myself, Mary, Sarah, Chloe, Frances and Steven are going to try and get a cultural experienxe but firat the task of buying the tickets. All down to me. Wish us luck!

Until next time

Suzanne

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