Yelagiri Hills by Mary Palmer!

Vanakam! We have just arrived back at the YMCA Vepery after an awesome few days with the YMCA Kottivakam boys in the Yelagiri hills where we lead an activity holiday for them.

Day 1 of Yelagiri began with a six hour bus journey (with stops for ice cream and biscuits!) with all of the 58 boys on a bus – singing, dancing and playing thumb wars all the way! We split the boys into five teams with two Chennai Challenge leaders with each team. We arrived ready to get to know the boys in our team, choose a superhero themed team name and make a team banner.

Chloe and myself were with the youngest boys, ranging from around age 5 to 9, and together decided to be “Superman’s Super Team!”.

The next day was jam packed with lots of exciting activities organised by Suzanne: balloon modelling, blanket volleyball, face painting and loom bands! In the afternoon, we transformed the field in to a fairground of games such as ‘splat the rat’, ‘hoopla’ and ‘hook a duck’ with lots of sweets for the boys to win!

Day three was superhero day! In the morning the boys made masks, capes and jet packs – a full superhero outfit ready for the superhero sports day where the teams competed in lots of relay races.

Day three came to a close after the campfire – this year indoors due to the weather! So although lacking actual fire, a plus side to it being in the well lit hall was that you could see the faces of the boys and how much they were enjoying watching each other perform! Groups of boys performed drama sketches, songs and dances as well as solo items too. This year, Chennai Challenge Team 2014 performed an African song in parts organised by Suzanne, a medley of dances choreographed by Yemma and a funny sketch thing that I don’t really know how to describe in words – but its well worth looking forward to the video, which I’m sure will be posted soon!

The boys finished the campfire and our last full day together in Yelagiri beautifully. Together they had written a letter for the Chennai Challenge team. It was a beautiful letter thanking everybody in the team for coming to India to spend time with the boys. It was a very heartfelt letter and really touched everyone of us.

Day four was another fun-filled day starting with a climb up ‘Bear Rock’ followed by Tamsin’s “It’s a knock out” where all the teams rotated round, playing lots of games to win points! Although our ‘superman’ team ranked last they all enjoyed it all the same!

The boys then piled back onto the bus to return to Kottivakam, and the Chennai Challenge team all enjoyed an afternoon to re-energise – ready for our final exciting week in Chennai!

Maru Palmer (A.K.A Pretty Green!)

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