This past month has been a crazy combination of coming and goings, and it looks like they’re set to continue right until the end of term, just a short five weeks away.
The busy period began by Annual Day preparations, ‘Forward two three hop, back two three hop.’ Was just about all I ever said for three months, in an attempt to drill the steps into the rather uncoordinated ceilidh dancers. Guests and important board members from the USA were arriving, costumes were being stitched, music planned, people were running left, right and centre trying to finish last minute jobs…and then my family arrived! It was wonderful to finally be reunited after six months and it reminded me of how special it would be to go home in August. I felt so proud to be showing off my school and all my beautiful children to my family and also privileged to have the opportunity for the kids to meet my family, who they had all asked extensive questions about.
My parents and sister stayed for Junior and Senior Annual Days, getting stuck in playing with the kids and helping them get into their costumes. On the Sunday they also visited school, which gave us a chance to relax, chat and go for a big long walk without the screams and squeals of excited children interfering. My family then travelled down to Kochi where they stayed for the next week. After picking up the pieces from Annual Day, I rejoined them the following weekend and we made our way to Coonoor. We had a lovely long luxurious weekend but we were back at school on Monday morning-right as the bell rang for assembly! My family spent some time in class with me and then that afternoon they left to fly home. In between all of this we had a fleeting visit from our Project Trust representatives.
After a quick goodbye and promises of seeing each other soon, I was plunged back into school life at Vidya Vanam. Caitlin and I were to have a change of timetable: instead of helping out in class we would begin a remedial project for children who were struggling with English and Maths. Lists of children who needed extra help were formed and about ten variations of a timetable were constructed. Finally we found a solution which suited everybody and began our lessons, with children in groups ranging from 3-10.
That Friday, Patma Akka, a lady working in the women’s development project, was throwing a house warming party. It was a drop in all day affair, so Sulo and I turned up early in the morning decked out in our sari’s, fancy portu’s and jewellery. There was pooja, admiration of the new house and then we were served the most delicious breakfast! Afterwards we visited a friends house where we had tea, then made it back to school in time for class. That weekend Patti, Sarah and I attended The first Coimbatore Literary Festival, mingling amongst ‘Coimbatore’s elite’ and were excited to be greeted by an elephant on our journey home. The following Monday, Caitlin’s family visited and we spent the next couple of days showing them around and introducing them to everyone at school. It was surreal to finally meet her family after a long six months of wondering what they were like. Caitlin had an unexpected visitor, which turned into a marriage proposal, Rajesh and I rode the van to drop the kids off on the Kerala side, Caitlin, Sarah and I also went in the bus on the Tamil Nadu side, we visited a staff member’s house for lunch last Sunday, Caitlin and I experimented with henna, there’s a new Hindi teacher and the school is in the midst of preparing for an important inspection. This afternoon we walked to the old Hindi teacher, Mini’s, home. Mini is pregnant and due to a previous miscarriage she was advised to stay home and no longer work, so tomorrow she leaves to go to her mothers house where she will stay until after the baby is born. The baby is due in September, so we will not see her again and it was a bit of a tearful goodbye. Ayshweria, the science teacher, is leaving next weekend. Last night Caitlin got bitten by a scorpion and today we went shopping in Coimbatore!
A more detailed update is coming soon! But seeing as it may take its time I figured I should give you a taste of all the exciting stories I still have to share with you.