Tuesday

Remember me telling you about the woman who is a dab hand with a machette? Well today I found out that she is the new cook. For breakfast we were served a crunchy rolled cereal, sweetened with raw palm sugar. Very crunchy and VERY sweet!

We spent most of today in the small room, organising the school websites and collating yet more information to add to the sites. I met the head of the teacher training college today and had to explain that I was required to take photos of all the teaching staff she was in charge of. I went through the same ritualistic questions with her, as I had done with others the day before. Name, job title, qualifications, marriage status, children etc.

At dinner time I decided that I needed to get out and stretch my legs. I met up with Dan and we walked into the local village. I bought bannas and Dan, well he bought several packs of biscuits- He hasn't grown up yet and has no idea about trying to eat healthily. While we weere out i took a couple of photographs. It doesn't matter what you take a photograph of here, all the pictures come out great.

For most of the day and apart from the quick trip into the villege, we only surfaced for food and water and at around 7.30pm we finally came out of the computer pit to find a new volunteer stood in the foyer.

"Hi, I'm Doug."He introduced himself in a strong Australian accent whilst quite overly enthusiastically shaking my hand until I could feel my arm slowly loosening from its shoulder socket!

"I'm Tony" I managed to free my hand and aching arm from his grip.

" Ah..." he said, "A Pom!"

He stood about six and a half feet tall, maybe taller, grey/silvercropped hair and matching beard, his eyes wore the most intense stare. The kind of stare a headmaster uses to extrude information from disruptive students.

"Who's the chief?" he asked, waving his arms like Magnus Magnasun and clicking his fingers, "Head honcho?" his eyes glared as he spoke. I couldn't take my eyes from his leather tanned skin. He looked well-travelled.

"He's not in at the moment, you should get someone to show you a room to unload your stuff." I told him. Doug agreed.

He told me that he had been in touch with Joseph and that he had arrived two weeks later than planned due to having a stomach bug. He had laid up in a hotel in Trivandrum for over a week as he didn't want to bring any bugs to the hostel. Looking at how sunken and dark the rings around his eyes were, it looked like he wouldn't have been fit for travel, even if he wanted to.

After he settled in, we (Diane, Dan, Doug and me) sat round a table talking about where we had been, not just in India but also other voyages we had all been on. Doug explained to us about his sixteen hour train ordeal from Chennai. The train was over packed and he had to stop people trying to pick up his bags by laying on them.

As we chatted Joseph arrived and sat with us. He started telling us about his life story. He originally came from this village and moved to France to study, when he was younger. He then moved to America where he studied education and after around thirty years, decided to return to Kerala and build a school. He and his family built three schools and a large Catholic church in the centre of the village. I find it a little more than creepy that somebody called Joseph named his own school AND church St Josephs. There is a lot of this kind of thing round India, well, here anyway. There seems to be a mad race to proclaim yourself king and saviour of the people. The more money you have the more chance you have of achieveing this, I suppose, but I'm sure I've heard or read somwwhere that the Bible says vanity is a sin.

 

 

 Dan (left) and me (right). We just had to take these photos of us both standing outside the enterance of Joseph's Church.

 

Bananas grow freely in and around the school grounds. The local people consider it a state of poverty if you don't buy bannas grown out of state. These in the school grounds are delicious! 

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Next instalment coming soon!

 

 

 

Doug: Taking photos in the dining room 

 

Jumping spider (plexippus paykulli ) salticids

A common resident found around the school!