Team B….at the ready!!!
Well….where to start! Team B got here after what seemed like an incredibly long flight, so it was sooo good to be met at the airport by Cathy and Isaac. A much needed sleep and we were somewhat refreshed, though still rather tired and ready to experience the Chennai challenges that lay ahead. A little wander down the high street where the hustle and bustle of ordinary everyday life takes a little bit of getting used to, especially if you’ve not been here before. Its loud, colourful, busy, horns tooting all the while, different smells assault the senses, especially as it is so hot and humid. First meal Masala Dosai…fabulous! Team meetings and a trip to Spencer plaza to change some money were all part of the firsy days experience. At this point we hadn’t seen team A, we really wanted to hear all their experiences and news…it was so good to catch up with them, their excitement was so encouraging!
The following day Team A went to the boys town at Kottivakum. First we went to see the boys dorms, as you may have read in the previous blogs there is flooding at the boys town and the teams want to check this out with a view to provided drainage. Stagnant water surrounds the building, the boys have to wade across between the blocks and main building. The dorm we looked at was flooded inside too… so gutting to see. Then into the main hall to meet the boys. 150 boys from 4-18, all sat silently in rows, then the greetings began, with Rob, Cathy and Isaac introducing us, one by one. They were so happy to see Liv & Emma again, it was really touching! Some loud action songs followed, the boys joining in with gusto! A couple of games helped them to learn our names and for us to get to know them a little better. They have such enormous energy and enthusiasm, it’s infectious. The result of this is that the little ones are desperate to keep going, but some of them just can’t and literally keel over, usually forward over their crossed legs, but in this session, Isaac pointed out one of them to me who had literally just fallen over sideways, fast asleep, whilst the most incredible noise surrounds them. What struck all of us is the care that these boys have for each other, they really do look out for each other, it really is like an enormous family, that feels a priviledge to be part of for this short time. I cannot describe just how excited the boys were about going to Yellagri the next day….imagine a small boy very excited about going on holiday, now x by 150………..
Next day up at 6am, set off to the boys town, which is an hour away, having packed the minibuses with all the equipment we would need for the trip, thanks to team A and project leaders prep! What a mighty cheer we got when we arrived…awesome! Lots of photos, thumb wars etc, whilst we waited for the coaches. Then the 6 hour journey, from Chennai to Yellagri, with constant singing and chanting…very loud, it really is incredibly difficult to capture here the full measure of it to share with you!!! As we started to ascend the mountain, we began counting the 14 hairpin bends that would take us to our destination, the temperature dropping as we went, which was such a relief! The views were absolutely awesome. It was good to see the changes too, from City life to the relaxed pace of the little villages, banana trees and rice fields.
How do I sum up the next few days!!!! Absolutely full on! The CC team worked in pairs, one from team A & one from B, with groups of approx 12 boys. I worked with Sarah and was given group 2 (Group 1 being the smallest boys and group 9 being the oldest) The orange team ….best team, super team, as our boys kept chanting. The next 2 and a half days comprised of wide games, face painting, scoobies, puppet making, balloon modelling, poi making and skills, painting a mural, origami, tree climbing, keep fit, football, cricket and devotions. The food was excellent, the boys certainly enjoyed theirs! The final morning we had a mini olympics competition…great fun and very competitive! Every activity was tackled with such energy and enthusiam, it was a brilliant way to get to know the boys better. At the final award ceremony I nearly cried (cos I am SUCH a wuss!!) as some of the boys came forward and said what they had enjoyed and conveyed the groups thanks, it was rather moving! One of they boys, on seeing the coaches waiting ready to take them home, joked with me…’oh no, the coaches, send them away!!! So, with some sadness we returned to Chennai, back to the humid heat with 150 very tired boys! As it had rained heavily the boys town was even more flooded, it was humblig and sad to see them wade through the water back to their dorms with their little bags.
As I write this, on a rest day for us, I am aware that they have school today, as their normal daily routine continues…..can’t wait to see thwm on Sunday!!!