Back home at Vidya Vanam!

Yesterday morning we arrived safe and sound back to our home for the year!

We got settled, cleaned out our room and found a few unexpected gifts of mice droppings and dead cockroaches! These were all cleaned upand the room was disinfected and tidied, well Caitlin was tidy my side was still seriously messy but just slightly better. Anyway that took up the majority of the time until we got a chance to chat with the other staff at lunch all about their exciting training trip to Ghandiji’s school in Wharda. Then in the afternoon we helped out with some of the kids and put up decorations for todays exciting celebrations for Ghandiji’s birthday!

Today I helped out in Peepal class reading stories and singing nursery rhymes-I know what you’re thinking, me singing?! But Baa Baa Blacksheep is hard to get wrong. Then we went to the big hall to watch all the dancing and stories and songs the kids had prepared for their parents and the special guests. After that we headed over to the first complete classroom of the new building block to look at the kids beautiful artwork, I’ll put up more photos when Dad posts me out the correct cable! It would have been amazing for UK standards let alone Indian, so proud to be teaching in this school.

We had a half day which we filled with a long and ardurous teachers meeting which switched between tamil and english, so we were never quite sure what was going on!

This evening we spoke to Patti, (which means Grandmother in Tamil) she is the Director of the school, basically the boss! I think she’s fantastic, such a hilarious character and so welcoming and kind. We were discussing what work we’ll be doing for the rest of the year and gave her a few gifts from home to say thank you for having us! We were so happy to hear that she wanted us to teach English to the young classes, as initially when we arrived, we thought this would not be the case.  I’ll happily be able to use all the stickers and flashcards I brought with me! Alongside that, we’ve still got the mighty position of ultimate control over the library, we’re supposed to decorate all the younger classes and believe it or not I’m going to be helping out in science! I mentioned that I did science and was immediately given the job of helping in Ayshweria’s classes, who told us she much preferred science to children and would rather be a scientist than a teacher. I’m glad I’ll be helping out there, as I think my enthusiasm will be appreciated! What’s more in the morning, there are children here from 7.45am with classes not starting til 9am and Caitlin and I will be running informal English conversation classes with the older kids during this time. Patti also mentioned that we MUST teach the children ceilidh dancing and play the music and she will buy them all kilts for the next Annual Day (in Feb) so they can show it off for the parents and special guests!

This chat with Patti has made me even more excited for my time here and so glad I’m back to Vidya Vanam, I truly do love it here and know I’ll have a wonderful year.



1st Email from Nuala in Vidya Vanam

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well.

My USB does not fit into this computer, so no photos yet I’m afraid. If I can work out what I need I’ll try and get that sorted.  Apparently the post is really reliable, Sarah got a huge package sent to her.

Tonight driving home we saw elephants, 2 big ones and one baby. We are so lucky but didn’t take any photos as my camera battery was dead and I didn’t bring it. One teacher has been here 4 years and never seen one. But some people say they see them all the time. One of the children lives in a place where elephants walk past every day at 5.30pm.

Currently sitting in the computer lab, internet is very slow and I’m surprised I’ve been able to write this without electricity cutting out. Dinner is at 8-which is now, but we are slowly adjusting to India time, and turning up at 9 would be more expected. Sometimes India time can get frustrating, we made two trips into Coimbatore for our police registration and it is not even complete yet (between 45mins-1.5hrs) and stopped a lot along the way – because it is so far away they do every single errand they possibly can. This morning we were meant to leave at 8.30am as the station only stayed open until 11. We didn’t leave til 9.30 and when we got there the man who had the forms we needed was at a meeting, we called him and were told to come back at 11.30, when we came back he was still not there and we went all the way back to Anaikatty just for lunch and then back to Coimbatore an hour later. We then had to go to 2 police stations and again tomorrow and on Monday.

Wore a bindi today and hoping to get a sari/salweer tomorrow. The dye on the womens foreheads is meant to be a good luck potion, kind of thing. There is a market in Coimbatore which is open on Monday so we may go then.

The village is wonderfully interesting and the politics surrounding everything are so intriguing. I’m staying very far away though, much too scary for me!

Adjusting to Indian life as well as possible, the stafff are all incredibly friendly and helpful and clever characters.

Will write more soon.


Arrival at Vidya Vanam

So we have had a few texts from Nuala and all is well.  Her and Caitlin have travelled South to Coimbatore, and from there to the village of Anaikatty and Vidya Vanam school.  This is a picture of the girls’ room – part way through unpacking.  Nuala says its great with a bathroom right outside – so all sorted on that front! 

They’ve had some initial discussions with the Head Teacher about what they’ll be doing and so far they are looking to be involved in updating the school website, running the library, teaching ceilidh dancing, and organising the computer room.  

Nuala is hoping to run a “Reading Challenge” in the library – so thanks to the inspiration of Balfron Library where she spent many summers desperately trying to read enough books to collect the stamps for a free swim!  She spent also 6 months in Balfron Library doing work experience for her DofE Silver Award, so everything she learnt there will be put to good use.

The school does have computers and some level of internet connection, but the problem seems to be the reliability of the electricity supply.  So hopefully soon you will be able to get updates direct from Nuala herself, and maybe some more pictures too.

Keep checking back!