Sorry I have been a tad loco from this blog recently, I have spent the past wee while travelling to visit other vols. Firstly we headed to Hyderabad to stay with our overseas rep, Bharavi, and his family. You would think this would be a relatively easy mode of transport but unfortunately Caitlin is a bit of a newbie on the aeroplane front. It took us 3 return trips unloading all our electricals and back and forth between security and the check in desk before we successfully arrived! We stayed in Hyderabad for a few days before finding out we were going to a small town called Tangutur near Ongole to stay with another volunteer, Katie for the rest of the time until our project term began.
After an…exciting…overnight train journey we arrived in Tangutur and were immediately taken for breakfast and food was practically shovelled down our necks! In Tangutur we slept in the volunteers room, sharing single beds and trying to stay under a mozzie net was kinda fun, and taught in the Government run school there every day. Seven classes a day and LOTS of boisterous children who wouldn’t behave unless you beat them, which obviously we would not do! The violence problem there was insane, way way way worse than here. We had such a wonderful time visiting Ongole and we were soo soo soo happy to have spent time with Katie (another vol) as in Anaikatty we are SO far away from everyone else.
Whilst we were there the festivities following Ganesha’s birthday were occurring. And let’s just say India knows how to party! Every night for 7 days there was a procession of a massive Ganesha with people dancing and music being played and lots and lots of scary firecrackers. Surprisingly the men dominate the festivals, and needless to say at some of these processions (it tended to be the later ones) they had had a bit too much to drink! However, one day some girl dragged us along as we were walking into town and she told us to wait whilst she tied luminous orange ribbon around our wrists. Next thing we know they were setting off fire crackers (which are similar to flares) and suddenly all this purple powder appeared. And I mean LOTS of purple powder appeared! We were covered head to toe in it, it was hilarious!! Later that evening as the procession passed our house, it started to rain. And India rains like it parties! So once again we were dragged out by the ladies who were dancing to attempt to join in. Now I’m sure you guys have all seen my pathetic excuse for a dance at some point in your life…and these Indians couldn’t seem to teach me anything better! It was so hilarious and lovely to be welcomed by such a friendly community.
Yesterday morning we arrived back in Vidya Vanam safe and sound.
Nuala has limited access to the internet just now, so here’s a brief update.
Because her school in Anaikatty, Vidya Vanam, is currently closed while the teachers are away on training, Nuala and Caitlin returned to Hyderabad. They stayed here a few days and then travelled on to join some other Project Trust volunteers at their project for a few weeks, before returning to Vidya Vanam.
We haven’t heard much about the other Project they are heading to, other than that it is a school called Sri Chaitanya High School in Tangutur in the Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh. It looks like its on the East coast of the Southern part of India. The girls they are joining are Katie and Abi, and you can see a little more about their project on Katie’s blog here http://katiesyearwithprojecttrust.blogspot.co.uk/ It’s worth reading Katie’s description of her train journey from Hyderabad to Tangutur – don’t bring any bananas Nuala!
Hopefully Nuala may get access to the internet sometime in the next few weeks, and we’ll hear more. I think she’s loving India, but finding the disruption a little frustrating – she’s just keen to start teaching.
An update from Nuala:-
Today is Ganesha’s birthday and for the past few nights and during the day there has been constant drumming in the village. One night we stood at the edge of the school fence and looked and there seemed to be a fire. The noise also sounded like it was moving through the villages as it is not just Annaikatty here but MILLIONS of villages, I cannot remember any of their names. We went to the temple-there are temples everywhere about here-and they had made a massive special Ganesha for her birthday. I really want to learn more about Hinduism, Sarah has a book so I think I’ll read that when we get back. Here’s a photo of the Ganesha outside the temple. There’s millions of statues of other gods inside the temple but you’re not allowed to take photos in there.
Ganesha, Nuala and Sarah
Oh my god just went outside cos it sounded like the drums were getting closer (they started again at midday) and there was a big parade but by the time we got to the street (the computer lab is the other end of the school) we only saw the tail end. Basically (I think) they are parading the Ganesha through all the different villages, then they go and burn her in the river-or something. Might head into the village but I’m a little nervous to go just Caitlin and I. I’m pretty confident it will be fine though. We can ask Sumi if she wants to come with.
Sumi is pregnant so she has not left to go on tour with the rest of the teachers. Earlier she was telling me all about how difficult it is to be a wife here and how she must go up north to stay with her in laws for three years in December as she will be 6 months pregnant by then but her husband Asim will not come with her.