Wednesday 8th December 2010

We are still at the back end of the monsoon season, it seems. The rains were supposed to have stopped a couple of weeks ago but have been more persisitant this year. The day started with torrential rain and it kind of went a little downhill from there.

Joseph told us last night that we would have to go to the local police station today and notify them that we are staying with him. It's a routine that you have to go through- registering with the local police.

We decided to work on the websites while we waited for him to let us know when he was ready to take us all. Education Inspectors were visiting the school so we were unsure what time we were going out. I went to the main office to have a word with the Principal and Manager about when was best to take photographs for the website. As I waited I was leaning on the railings overlooking the court yard chatting to Dan- He too was waiting for someone to organise something (too much waiting about in India and not enough action!).

As we talked the Principal walked towards us and began asking questions in his very dry, emotionless tone..

"Are my qualifications good enough in England?" I was caught like a rabbit in  the headlights." errr...errr...maybe...You will have to get them verified." I answered. 

"How do I get a visa?" Ok, this guy was definitely fishing here.

"You would most likelyl have to get in touch with the British or Indian Embassy."

"How?".

"Have a look on the internet".

"Where would I stay?"

"I don't know."

"How would I get a job?"

"How long could I stay?"

"Err...". I was stumped. Just as I was about to say I didn't know Joseph saved us and asked the Principal to meet with the inspectors. Dan and I looked a little gob-smacked at the direct questions we had fired at us from the Principal.

 Back in Joseph's office, he introduced me to the inspetors as one of the schools international teachers here to help teaching as part of team. I can only assume that the team he mentioned was Diane and me!

 They spoke in Malyaylam and English as I worked on collating information for the school websites. Joseph made references to having the website updated and pointed towards me as they continued their discusions. Dan was running in and out organising paperwork for Joseph to show the inspectors.

Dan had found that the school was owed thousands of rupees that hadn't been paid by parents. Part of his job was to recoup these fees and invite parents in to school to discuss how to pay their bills. There was now an account system in place and it was Dans responsibilty to make sure the system was up and running and that the staff (Manager and Principal) are trained to use it and keep it updated.

After the inspectors had left, Joseph told all three of us that we would need to meet in at the office for his driver to take into the local police station to declare that we staying at the school.

Three hours later (!!!) after mooching around the office and the school Joseph finally sent his driver to collect us. We all bundled into the car and set off to the local police station. On the way through the jungle tracks and roads we glimpsed some of the locals going about their daily business. The air filled our nostrils with a mixture of vegetation and what can only be described as rotting meat! 

Arriving at the  station Joseph told us that he would do all the talking to avoid any complicated questions from the chief of police. We followed him in silence along the broken concrete steps and up into the office. He took our passports from us and handed them across the table to an officer that  was obviously preocupied with his own importance than who we were. He stared at our documents then at us then shook our hands at the same time as Joseph quickly shuffled us out of the doorway. The policeman, Joseph and his associates then continued with their own conversations.

We met Joseph outside. 'Everything is fine', he told us. He went on to explain that he had told the officers that we were freinds he had met on his travels in America and that we had come to the school for a social visit.

Diane asked him if we could stp at a shop for bananas before we headed back into the jungle to the school so we stopped in a small village on the main road. It began to rain and Joseph and Diane shared the very small umberella that Josephs driver provided.