After the truly amazing experience of taking the boys to Yelagiri for the weekend and the long trip back to Chennai on Monday evening, Tuesday was always going to be an exhausting day. In terms of tiredness it didn’t get off to the best of starts when Rob and I agreed to go to another Football session run by Oasis. It’s lovely to join in with when we get there, but the 6am start was a tough one. All of the boys taking part have so much passion and commitment to every session; it really is a breath of fresh air to see. They all turn up in the full white and orange kit and also the boots all provided by Oasis. They are encouraged to look after and take pride in the equipment they are given and I can definitely see that they do this because they feel part of something. Sam, the coach, is an asset for Oasis; he always manages to put on a session that improves an element of their game and finds fun ways to do it. As massive Football fan myself, this is definitely something that I will really miss doing when I get home. But it was great to see a programme that gets boys from the local community involved in something for a variety of ages.
I won’t bore you with the breakfast and morning routine that we go through every day, so the next scheduled programme was another session through Oasis. We ran an English lesson with the girls in the Blue Edge programme. We focused on directions and time as a different approach to the previous ones we led, but it was still designed to improve their conversational English at the same time. It was a really fun session because we blind-folded one of them while having another directing them round obstacles in the room. It stopped them from turning to Tamil when they were in doubt and make them take more time to think about what they needed to say. The second part of the session was using an analogue and then digital clock to make sure they can say the basic phrases such as ‘half past’ and ‘o’clock’. They really seemed to enjoy the different activities we did and we definitely noticed improvements.
After lunch, we had another session at Kottivakkam with the boys. It is safe to say that they still had a lot more energy left over from Yelagri. We were able to use activities that they were already confident with from the weekend, so we played Ultimate Frisbee and had further practice of their Ribbon Dance routines to perform to the whole team on Wednesday. Frisbee was the activity that I was assigned in Yellagri, but considering they had never played before it was really difficult to find ways to explain the rules. Especially as they only speak a small amount of English. But when they understood, it was so much fun and they loved having the chance to play again today. Seeing the boys is the highlight of every day!
The final engagement of the day was for everyone to go round to Becky’s for a BBQ. Becky is a former member of Oasis and therefore is an old friend to many of the returning members of the team. It was really good to see how the relationships and friends that have been made over the years are made even stronger as the years go on. The food put on was unbelievable! It was just like being at home; except for the creepy crawlies going for your food are a lot worse than wasps. Becky also introduced us to the delight of BLUE JUICE. It is only Sprite mixed with some Blue Citrus squash, but it is incredible and I urge any future team members to drink it in bulk. It was a nice and relaxing end to a busy but very rewarding few days.