For those of you looking to read more in depth and detailed summaries of our time in Chennai this year, we have an apology to make. We are now over a week into Project 2018, and this is the first blog entry we have had time to write. What can I say? The team have been too busy to sit down and write a blog. I will be as succinct as I can in talking through the highlights so far…
So far we have spent only a few days in Chennai itself, most of which has been visiting the staff team at Oasis India, and seeing some of the projects that YMCA run at Fort School and in community centres in Sathymanagar and Tondiarpet.
After our initial few days of acclimatisation, Independence Day fell. Our team travelled around the city to various YMCA branches to celebrate the 72nd anniversary of India’s independence. It is such an honour for us to be present at flag hoistings and to share in these celebrations. India and the UK share a complicated history, and so it is a powerful thing to be welcomed so warmly on this of all days in the Indian calendar.
On Thursday 16th August, the team packed up all of the resources that they had prepared and headed off to Yelagiri Hills at 6am. The plan was to deliver our annual activity holiday for residents of the Boys Town at Kottivakkam. A 4 day, action packed, camp for 45 young people who do not often get the opportunity to go on holiday or even leave the YMCA hostel. You can imagine the excitement!
A SPACE MISSION! The theme of the holiday was SPACE, and the boys were given log books to record all of the activities they took part in. Featured activities included:
- Galaxy slime making
- Asteroid games
- Alien face painting
- Solar system mobiles
- Space ball games
and many more! It all culminated in a hike up bear rock, and a massive game of It’s a Knockout!
Every year this holiday provides an opportunity to get to know the boys from Kottivakkam really well, to build friendships and trust and also to just have fun. And I can confirm that fun was had. We’re knackered, but the trip will surely be a highlight in people’s memories of this year!
Today the team are out at their first Oasis projects. One group are working with young people on a life skills and English course and another are working with a tailoring group focusing on gender equality and female empowerment. I can’t wait to hear how the sessions go. At lunch we will have the pleasure of sharing a meal with the board of the Madras YMCA.
Thanks for reading – keep an eye on our twitter feed and facebook page for more updates!