The third day in India
After a really busy few days we had a weekend planned for planning and shopping for resources. We started by having a group meeting to discuss where the money that we had raised was going to be spent. The community centres and the school we had visiting previously have all told us what they require such as new toilets, sports equipment and money towards a new school. We heard why they needed the potential projects that we would fund and we discussed the impact it would have, the sustainability of what we were giving and the feasibility of actually funding the projects. This was a really challenging task as all of the potential projects mean a lot to them and it would have been amazing to have been able to support all of the projects they wanted yet with a limited budget, we had to really carefully think about the relevant factors to make a decision.
After lunch a group of us went to the local supermarket to get resources for the activities, which was definitely an experience! It was a 8 floored shop with lots of different rules to the supermarkets in England. It was very complicated, so if you by an item on level one, then you couldn’t take it up to any other floor, you had to store it in a place on the floor that you brought it at; so you had to collect all your items on the way down. It was a really strange system but once we got the hang of it, it was ok. It was also a strange experience because they were so intrigued and excited to see us as there are next to no other white people in Chennai.
We then went to Spencer Plaza, which was like a shopping centre, to get tea and to go shopping. We had Turkish and Chinese food which I was so excited about because I could get lots of chicken which I had been craving; although I am enjoying the Indian food there isn’t much meat on the menu so it was delicious to have some chicken!
So today was Sunday, a tried to go swimming in the morning but it wasn’t open because it is a Christian hostel it is their day of rest. We then split into 2 groups again, the other half went shopping to get more resources and we cut out the necessary resources for the activities we are leading in Yelligri (when we take the destitute boys up to the hills). Fortunately, we found out that there was an English church service in the hostel we were at at 11.30, so Emma, Rob and I went there. I didn’t know what I was expecting as I obviously haven’t been to an church service in India before, yet I was kind of expecting a dull service with lots of bible readings. Therefore I was overly excited when we walked in to a band on the stage, a singer with a microphone and lots of people clapping and singing; it was an amazing atmosphere. We worshipped through song for about 15 minutes, some songs we sung at home so they were familiar yet were some really good new songs and still, the atmosphere was so excitable and joyful.
The sermon followed which was about how important it is to have joy and to appreciate what you have, thank god for what you already have and be happy. He preached that sometimes your happiness could be right there, yet you are looking for it elsewhere and missing what is already there. This really made me think about my own life, about how sometimes we can get so caught up in what we don’t have or how things could be better, thinking that if I had something else I might be happy. Yet sometimes I forget to be happy and joyful for what I have in my life already. This also related to how I have felt being here in Chennai so far; the children we met at the fort school ( a school for the children in the slums) who don’t have half of what we have, were still so happy, grateful and appreciative for what they had. Yet sometimes I can feel hard done to, even though I have a beautiful, safe house, a constant supply of food and water and clean clothes. It showed me that it is so important to have joy and be happy with what you have because otherwise you will always be looking for something else or something else to make you happy and miss what is already there. I should be more grateful for what I have and be joyful for the family, friends and lifestyle that I already have because I am extremely lucky. I feel like I have a completely different outlook on life.
So after church we had lunch and then practiced performances and songs that we will be doing for the boys when we go to Yelligri.
It has been a fantastic day and I am loving the experience so far; it is changing my outlook on so many things as it is such an eye opening experience. I am excited to find out what the next few days hold and to learn more and help in any ways I can.