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Jodie’s Travel Diary

Friday, 26 Oct 2012

Location: Keeranur, India

MapVanakkam (hello/welcome)
Since we last spoke I am pleased to say that the class size at the school has more than doubled ... we now have 8 students! Everyone is 2 and a half apart from one child who's 3 and a half. There are two girls and the rest boys. Three of the little boys absolutely refuse to be left at the moment, but hopefully that will come. One of them actually did cry himself sick. A while ago I think I told you about a festival that was coming up where we hoped to get more pupils. It is thanks to that, the Ayudha Pooja festival, that we have these new students. Indian people seem to be rather superstitious. We had a lovely couple of days where the pupils came and joined and we just played with balloons and things as they were holiday days.
Also, Subash was over from the UK (he and his wife Ruth were the original people I dealt with re this volunteering trip). He did very well in a sponsored chilli eating competition and it also gave us all the opportunity to sit down and discuss the school, how it has been going and the plans for the future.
So far the main changes are the number of pupils increasing, at the moment it is a little unsettled but once they calm down this will make for a much better school. Also, another important change is that there is no more smacking in the school. Some of you grew concerned when I wrote in my journal about the Aya (I think I referred to her as Ira as I still wasnít quite au fait with the language and new words Ö what am I on about? Iím still not!!!!) smacking the children . This no longer goes on. She is from a completely different culture and this is how they bring up their children. Not only this, but the parents ask you to smack their children!! Itís just so different to what we know in the UK. Anyhow, rest easy folks with concerns, it was a problem, it has been corrected. (Not that this makes smacking right as Iím sure you all know it something I donít agree with and refused to partake in, but, for anyone who knows me, they would know that if I had any serious concerns this would have been immediately brought up with urgency.)
On a lighter note, I have two new favourite foods here: Ghee Roast (Dosa) and Puli (Tamarind) curry. Eating out here is just so different to home. Itís difficult to explain just how different. As soon as you sit down you get tap water in front of you Ė I just take my own water. Thereís no drinking so thatís all people have. I asked for a coke and they had to go to the shop next door to get it for me. You go and wash your hands. Then they instantly ask you what you want. No menu. Because, I think, everyone eats the same things. So for example, you choose from Chapatti , Dosa, Ickley, and they bring it out almost immediately, on a banana leaf with a selection of dips. Always Samba, and then depending what youíve ordered other ones too. And you just ask for more if you want more as you go along. They bring it out on a tray and put it on your plate (with their fingers), and thatís pretty much how it works. Then you go.
I didnít get to the engagement at the weekend as the weather was so bad. So nothing to report there Iím afraid.
There is general agreement that at least two volunteers would be better here Ė for a number of reasons. I think there is an aim to try and get another one by the beginning of next year. Itís quite short notice for people to gather together the amount of money they need though so I wonít be surprised if it doesnít come off. For future volunteers though it will be a help. We are aiming to get the conversational English classes up and going as soon as possible, and, I am going to think of some kind of activity to do with the children that live on the street that the school is on. It is a very poor street so hopefully they will enjoy some activities.
Thatís about it for now Ö I wrote all this last night and then when I came to save it it disappeared. I was mad! Iím so sure the version I wrote last night was much more insightful and humorous too!! Haha
Nandre (thank you Ė because I canít remember Ďbyeí!)
xx