Monsoon season is well underway here at Vidya Vanam. Lots of rain means little power and even more mud! The first day the rains hit, the children were sent home early, but due to poor road conditions we had to wait until the rain stopped before we could let them go on the bus. Not sure about how logical that decision was seeing as it was the rain that meant they had to go home in the first place. Anyway, we danced and played with them in the rain, Sarah was teaching them the jitterbug, Rajesh was splashing everyone with water, the kids were spiking their hair up because it was so wet. We had a fantastic time, this is the kind of thing you expect to do whilst on your gap year!
At school, we’ve been busy trying to sort out what work we’ll be doing for the year, as of yet (over a month since we’ve been here) nobody really knows. We’re working on Indian time, frustratingly slow but pretty relaxing and well suited to the laziness inside me. Due to the science teacher struggling with the large and rowdy classes, I will be splitting the two largest and noisiest classes with her. We’ll take half a class each but lesson plan together and plan the syllabus together. There have been various ideas surrounding this complication but I think this is the best result and seeing as nobody else seems to be doing anything, I’m just going to make it happen by myself after the 2 day break next Monday and Tuesday. In the mean time we have made a ridiculous amount of flashcards, been busy with the never ending library clean up and helping in the younger classes. I have made coconut chutney and coconut sweeties with Neem class! Both were extremely tasty, no thanks to me.
Last weekend we visited a temple. It took us three hours to get there on two different buses and it was beautiful when we arrived. We looked around inside and prayed to different Gods, remembering to walk the right way around them and making offerings to our favourites. However, shortly after we arrived (no longer than 10 mins) the Gods decided to take lunch and temple was closed for 4 hrs! After a three hour journey we spent only 5-10 minutes in this beautiful temple. Hindu ‘Pooja’ (Worship) is definitely a lot quicker than Sunday morning mass in Balfron. On the way out I bought my first ‘object’ – a little hand carved stone Ganesha, which is now proudly displayed (facing Eastwards) on my desk!
The other staff get very excited about seeing photos of our friends and family and of everything back home, so I’ve been showing them some stuff on facebook. This has excited them even more and now I’m helping them all set up facebook accounts. I never thought I would say this, but with their lack of technological skills it makes Mum look like she’s good online!
Sarah, Caitlin and I are enthusiastically planning our Christmas break to Kerala. We have finally, after lots of late nights crowded around Sarah’s laptop attempting to decipher the confusing railway lines, booked our trains. Our route is taking us from Coimbatore on the 22nd of December to Kochi, then Alleppey, then Varkala, Thiruvanthapuram and finally the tip of Tamil Nadu-Kanyakumari and back home to Coimbatore on the 6th of January. We’re now hurriedly trying to book accommodation, but with it being winter and peak season for foreign tourists, things are certainly not cheap. In a quick entreprenurial idea of mine, I have added a line into all our emails: ‘We are volunteer teachers, teaching tribal children for the year’ This has provoked a wonderful response, with homestays and hostels halving the costs, offering off peak prices etc. Oh the joys of being a volunteer!