May 5, 2014 Pre India Reflection 0

A Blog, by 2014 team member Mary:

Aloha, Bonjour, Howdy, Hola, Kalimera, Ahnyong, Konnichiwa, Nameste, Salaam Alekum, Bon Giorno, Ni Hao, Guten tag, Jambo, Chao, Bom dia, G’day , Vannakam

–          all ways to express our greetings – to say hello, hi there, heya. Yo, sup y’all.

There are so many other ways to communicate our greetings to others in a non-verbal way: handshakes, head nods, waving, high fives, a simple smile.

At the Chennai Challenge team 2014 training weekend, one thing we discussed was communication. Tamil is the main language in Chennai, and we’ve been trying hard to learn useful vocabulary like colours, animals, numbers, relatives and parts of the body. This may help us communicate in Chennai, but it may still be difficult when we’re there. Cathy highlighted how a smiling face will communicate so much to the boys in the YMCA orphanage we are working with – welcoming and showing we are excited to spend time with them. I guess this works both ways; we may be able to see how much the boys are enjoying the activities we run by their expressions even if they don’t tell us verbally that they enjoyed it.

In England, language is very unlikely to be a barrier for us, but non-verbal communication is still very evident in our everyday lives. In Tamsin’s thought for the day on Sunday, we talked about both positive and negative communication we’ve experienced. We touched on simply passing people in the street in our everyday journey’s to work and school. Do we smile at them and they smile back? Not always. Perhaps this week we can make an effort to smile at a stranger.

Communication is also important within the team itself – talking about what we’re worried about, what we’re excited about, what we’re struggling with. We split in to two smaller mentor teams to make this easier, with Isaac and Suzanne as our mentors.

During the weekend, we also split into mentor teams to compete in quizzes about Chennai, India, medication, Tamil vocabulary and also timed races on the low ropes course at Beaudesert (with and without blindfolds or carrying cups full of water!).

The whole weekend was so much fun – getting to know the team, thinking of loads of ideas for the superhero themed boys’ activity holiday we will be running at Yellagiri, playing games and mmm… eating scrumptious South Indian food (but that’s a whole other blog, and I’ve procrastinated from maths revision long enough!)

So, on a final note – here’s a quote of an encouragement to smile at a stranger, from a real-life super hero…




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