I can hardly believe it but we are in the last few days of this year’s Chennai Challenge project. It has been amazing, and we have seen so much to make us excited and happy about the work of the YMCA and Oasis in Chennai. We have been busy since we last wrote a blog on Independence Day, so here is an update on some of the things that have happened.
Painting at Oasis
In 2009 Oasis asked if we would do some painting in one of their after school club venues. Just a repaint of the walls to get it spruced up and more appropriate for it’s purpose. We set aside an afternoon. It took 3 days. Since then we have been reluctant to get involved in similar projects, however this year we decided to take up the challenge and repaint one of their new office spaces as it was in a dilapidated condition. We started by cleaning and scrubbing, sanding and wiping down. Then the first layer went on – a primer for the walls. Time is running low, but we should be back to the office today to finish off the painting so that Vijayan has an office bang in the middle of Basin Bridge – the community he works in. Be prepared for future pictures of us looking dirty and hopefully a completed, beautifully painted office room soon!
Meanwhile Rob and Emma were busy darting around Chennai to finalise what we are funding this year and buy some bits and pieces. They had a meeting with Edwin – General Secretary of Madras YMCA to talk over the problems of drainage at Kottivakkam Boys Town and school. If you have been following Chennai Challenge in previous years this might sound familiar. Various methods have been tried in terms of attempting to prevent flooding on the site, including pumps, drainage pipes and working alongside Indian Oil who own the site next door. Nothing seems to have worked so far, and flooding is still there. This year Rob and Emma discussed this with Edwin and it sounds like the YMCA is preparing to take some more serious action, by rebuilding the cottages where the boys live. This way the buildings can be raised to prevent the floods at monsoon season. It is very exciting that they are raising funds to allow this to happen.
Additionally we will be contributing towards some building work at Sathamanagar to raise the building level to allow the centre to be used in monsoon season. The YMCA will be sourcing further funding to improve the structure of the walls and to renovate the electrical connections for fans and lights. This will lay the foundations for further work at this small, but well loved and used Community Centre.
Whilst 5 of the team continue painting today, the rest of them will be out visiting the temple town of Kancheepuram. This is an amazing opportunity to experience more of India’s rich cultural heritage, and I’m sure will be a memorable experience for them all. Be prepared for pictures of temples and elephants soon! Obviously this will allow the team to really immerse themselves in a new and different culture (Challenge number 1!).
The next couple of days will be jam packed as we attempt to finish all of the projects and programmes we want to before we leave, so please keep us in your thoughts and pray for us (if you’re a pray-er). I can speak for all of the team when I say that we are having an incredible time. The experience of being with the boys at Kottivakkam and immersing ourselves in South Indian culture has been amazing, and for those of you who know a team member – I’m sure you will hear many, many details in the next few weeks once we’ve returned!
Thanks for reading and do leave us messages and comments here and on facebook to keep us going for the last couple of days.