A disjointed catch-up blog..
Yesterday we visited two schools, side by side...again this bizarre juxtaposition of privilege and poverty...one was the sort of nice little girls school that I attended in St Leonards on Sea in the 1960s,with children in blue gingham and matching hair ribbons, the other run for slum children who get free meals from the church as they would otherwise be too hungry to learn.
Both wonderful...at the first, I was mobbed, literally, by hundreds of little girls demanding "Autograph, aunty"....could barely write, as books, pens, paper pressed up to my face! Digital photography is a great ice breaker...all children are so thrilled and excited to see themselves, and know their pictures will be coming home with me!
Today was the inauguration of the project for girls from the streets which we've been supporting as a diocese...delightful children,fanstastic staff and more or less non existent facilities....and these are the fortunate ones. Beside the CSI hospital (another place with few resources beyond loving care) there is the most appalling slum/shanty town, teeming with life and mess and misery...but it seems to be a fact of life accepted by all...and amid all the squalour is a mission school that has been there for 130 plus years. I'm being challenged in my attitudes to the impact of the British on India, which is far more positive than I had imagined...I'll write more about this when things are less frantic, but only have a few minutes of blogging time now.
Tomorrow we visit an AIDS project and on Friday some sort of ecology programme, which includes visiting a nature reserve. Cross your fingers that I get to see an elephant! It seems a teeny ambition in the face of everything else, but I would love to be able to tell the children at the Infants School about it!
And next week, all being well, I will leave the CSI Guest House to stay with a woman who has a parish in Channapatna, a rural area which is, I think, quite deprived...I feel I'm only scratching the surface, learning so much each day that I'll need months to process it. On Sunday the CSI Lectionary included that bit from Romans about the renewing of our minds...that is surely what is happening for me.
I wish I had longer to share thoughts and feelings, or better yet that some of you were here with me. I cant believe that this amazing experience is supposed to be "work"...but I would like everyone I know to be able to share it. Nothing will be the same again, I hope!