Sorry that we have not posted for a few days. We are nearing the end of the trip and so the team are all a bit busy and quite tired. The last few days have been pretty full on.
On Friday we had our first trip to Fort school this year. I was so pleased to see the headmistress is the same. She is such an inspirational teacher and gets amazing results from children who live in slums. Its amazing what giving children hope and aspiration can do. I was happy to see that the derelict classroom has been demolished to make way for the new classrooms and the ground levelled and is currently being used as some outside space for the children to play whilst we await the final permission to commence the building work. We discussed the work that Fort school wanted us to complete for them this year and when the building work for the classrooms would start. Being here always makes me feel like what we do is making a difference, because you can see the effects that classrooms and benches and computers makes to their education.
Following that we headed off to Kanigapuram for an afternoon of Oasis projects. Apart from I made a silly mistake and I should have sent the team to Basin Bridge for the Blue Edge. However all was not lost as Nathan bravely set off to lead an English class to a bunch of 6th standard students with Chelladurai, which he thought was awesome. We then led a session teaching the tutors different techniques for interesting classes. We taught then to learn through play and sensory activities, how to tell stories and some behaviour management. We then led an after school programme using some of those techniques, teaching about problem solving and working in teams. It was a fun afternoon, even if I sent us to the wrong place to start with.
Our evening was fab. We were invited over the Mathews house for dinner to meet his wife Divya and new baby boy Pratoush (I do hope I’ve spelt the names correctly). We had such a great evening chatting about random things #disneyagain, eating some great food and looking about amazing wedding photo’s. Then a late night for all of us.
But then an early morning as Saturday was Independence Day. We had lots of important functions to go to. Suzanne and Nathan were the first to leave and headed off to Kottivakkum at 7am, the rest of us stayed at Vepery for the first flag hoisting of the day. A few speeches, the flag hoisting and the national anthem and then we were off the next one. Tamsin and Frances went to Sathymanagar Community Centre and then on to Tondiarpet, whilst I went over to Fort School for their celebration. At Fort, there were important guests, lots of speeches, prayers, singing, dancing, prize giving and distributing sweets, followed by breakfast. It was a fabulous programme as ever, but there is something a little weird about celebrating the day that India gained it’s independence from Britain as a British person in India. We then went off to St Georges School for a Mission Society fair. There were lots of stalls selling food and there were lots of games. I played hoopla and won nothing, I played hook a duck and won nothing, so I thought if I do a lucky dip at least I win something, I did, a mehendi cone, so now I have to find time to draw on my hands.
In the afternoon we went over to boys town to lead a session, only to discover that the Bible study group were revising with the boys for a Bible test they were taking the next day. This meant that only a few of the boys (those doing the test next week) were able to play. So instead of doing the session that we had planned, we played thumb wars, chatted and looked at photos on our phones (as well as taking quite a few!) It was really nice to have such a chilled session with them, without any other agenda. I rally like just hanging out with them.
We then came back and went round to church for their contemporary worship service, which was good, although again as in the morning, it’s just a bit weird being around celebrations of independence, although I learned something about the Indian National Anthem. We then had a little confusion about dinner, but ended up in our well loved Raj Bhavaan.
Today we spent getting the gift bags ready for the boys, lots of shopping and sorting and putting everything in a bag. We then went to Spencer Plaza for lunch and a little personal shopping. (i’m quite excited about Rob’s gift!)
This evening we had been invited out to visit Bernard Rajkumar and his lovely wife Charlotte. We had a great evening of chatting, looking at photo’s and eating some great food (Charlotte is a great cook). Its so good to have friends who invite you for dinner.
Also before I go, I will mention that today we have been thinking about being thankful. I know that I am thankful for all the stuff I have written about, but as we contemplated this morning, I am most thankful for relationships. I am thankful for this team, the relationship that we have with YMCA and Oasis, for friendships both here and in the UK, for my husband and son but most of all my relationship with God. I wonder what you are most thankful for?