Many of you seem to be under the impression that I am now extraordinarily tanned/ changed race. I need to clarify that this is not the case. I think my arms are brown, some of my shoulders and maybe my face, but unsure. Caus really we aren't outside that much and are quite covered up. It's not heat you really chill outside for pleasure in.
Anyway, according to our Kannan (our host family man) the south lack UV rays.. I'm not sure how or why. But they must, I don't wear suncream and I have barely changed, yes I got slightly burned once but barely. It's just not happening.
Even is a tan was existent, it would make me look very strange in Portugal next week when I was brown armed, face and ankles while white stomached and legs. Mm nice. So yeah, not particularly the place for a tan.
Hi hi, in a bizarre situation right now not going to lie.
We took a night bus Thursday night at about 8:30 to Bangalore and arrived at 5am. Bangalore is once again one of the major cities of the south, has student areas etc. Our plan was to find this private bus to Mysore to look around for the day then come back to Bangalore for the weekend stay 'til Sunday. So getting here was obviously a trauma as we had lots of guys trying to sell us tours and tell us this and that. I night bus FYI, is like a airplane in lean back seats and air-con. Most uncomfortable thing and got hardly any sleep. The idea of getting that home Monday morning at 5 and teaching a load of over enthusiastic kids is an exhausting thought. So back to our 5am trauma, lucky we aren't the types of girls to panic. We wild goose chased to 3 different bus stations in order to find the right bus, while arguing with scamming rikshaw drivers. We found our bus after running through waves of moving buses, and crashed for 2hrs til Mysore.
We decided to go to Mysore due to advice from our host family, and honestly we went round this Palace which was incredible, checked in at a hotel for the day alone for about 7£, to shower and leave our stuff. Had a great local lunch, wandered around some bizarres and took a bus back to Bangalore at 3:15pm.
Getting to Bangalore we were tuk tuking to our hotel on 'MG Road', the 'Hub' as it's called. Classic travelled people we were slamming auto drivers trying to charge us 150 rupees. We eventually agreed 80 with one, got in and he went ' 9-0', a marvellous moment in sued when Jodie points her thumb at him like a dog and said 'NO, 80', as I start to climb out. He laughed at our stubborness and agreed in the end. We are staying at the Empire Hotel, decent place. Had a nice dinner at the hotel and crashed at a reasonable time.
Today/or yesterday (Saturday) we went exploring the town centre. Calvin Klein, a place called Forever New ad Lush stole our money with their lovely products. As westerners we have also booked ticket to see the new HP movie Sunday at 12:05pm, couldn't resist. Also had a pizza hut, feel like I'm betraying india.
Bangalore is bizarre, went to a mall, and the food court looks like america has landed. It's still India, but kinda looked like a bad, fake set of New York this main street.
Anyway tonight, slight mess. Need to say, that the Lonely Planet guide book is the way forward, I don't know how we'd live without it, which is how we found the bars this evening. We went to this place down the road for two for one cocktails, then we had planned our trip round the city. Our next stop was at the Ivory Hotel at the '14th Floor Bar'. Amazing bar/club with views right across the city. Got chatting with lots of people, including some senior parters in some firm beginning with 'w' which I can't remember the name of.. either way went back to one of their hotels. Massively lush 5 star place, the works of amazing. Unfortunately Jodie's stomach isn't right at all and she started being massively sick. So we were grounded (unfortunately but not) in this hotel. It's about 4am, the people in this room have crashed out while I use their mac and Jodie is still ill in the bathroom. It's a bit of a mess really. In the mean time I room serviced a delicious mushroom risotto, but still worried for my friend. Think it's time to leave, and we'll take a taxi home from the incredibly helpful reception desk, Jodie is well enough to travel now. Wish us luck for the next 24 hours!
We're all cool, you'd be amazed how the most bizarre and traumatic things wash over your head here. You just take it in your stride!
Oh and this guy adding people called 'Surendar Abr', I have funny feeling where I picked him up from, the internet cafe. Being the hard worn girl now who 'takes no s**t', I shall being confronting him on Monday. Really sorry. He saw my fb when he was being 'helpful'. When I went to pay he turned round the pc screen and asked it it was me (having seen my name), having previously asked me to add him. I was surprised I didn't then receive a fb request from him, so I'm guessing he somehow hacked. I'll sort it, I got a notification saying I'd accepted his request, and that lots of my friends were now friends with him on my suggestion. Not happy. Jerk. BLOCK AND REPORT PLEASE.
So anyway, the next 24hrs are sketchy, got to somehow find a bus tomorrow evening, sort out Jodie caus she really isn't well and teach/pick up saris and visit an orphanage sometime this week before wednesday! Good lord I need a holiday, this while month has completely wiped me out.
BIG SHOUT OUT TO MISS ELEANORE BAMBER'S BIRTHDAY, lots of love! And Miss Kate Hodkinson! Hope you had super days you 17 youngsters!
During the month of June and July, many volunteers came forward to donate materials for teh placement where they work in.
One of our Care volunteer - Mr Felix Platkowski with the help of this friends overseas bought a Television set for the Care placement - Anbarai Social Action. Now the children were very happy by his contribution. And we Projects broad advised the children to use the Television for listening some Education related materials.
Other Care volunteer - Ms Anne Doutrewe also made a contribution of an Air conditioner to the Car eplacement - Grace Kennett Foundation.
Also some more volunteers were planning to donate things in the near future.We wish them very all the best!
Contributed by Nadia Chellam - India Social Manager
Projects Abroad India organised the veterinary village in the nearby village named Vilacherry. The camp was successfully organised with the help of the Government Vet clinic.
About 8 - 9 volunteers took part in the camp and got a chance to treat the animals in the village.Nearly 150 animals got benefitted by the camp. Also with the help of our volunteers, we distributed the mineralised food items for the animals.
The weather was too hot.Though our volunteers worked sincerely by doing things like deworming, vaccinating the cows and goats.
Also during the day, our volunteers also visited the place where the local village people use to make the pot and the doll with the clay.After that we went to visit the Cave temple at Thenparankundram.It was worth to visit!
Contributed by Nadia Chellam - India Social Manager.
I'm at that stage, and week left and I don't want it to go. Introducing this idea of going next week to the kids was a bad idea, when you sudden have piles of 8 yr olds clinging to your limbs saying, 'nooo mam', 'stay mam', 'we will miss you mam'. They're all so gorgeous!
Right, this weekend. Had a sudden plan, we're taking a night bus to Bangalore tonight, which is why I'm rushing and we'll be getting back early Monday morning. We're looking at a local beauty rurally area Friday in a place called Mysore, then hitting Bangalore which is a big city. Hey maddness, shopping and nightlife Indian style?
Wish us luck, I kinda miss you all. There are so many reasons I want to be home, fresh milk? Chilled climate? Sanity? FOOD? (just a little break). But now have so many strings attaching me here that leaving seems quite a painful process, I think I will near definitely cry. My heart is literally swollen with love for these people and this place, my family, their relatives, maids, teachers and of course children.
If I remember one thing, a simplicistic lifestyle will make your one the happier people of this world.
No I haven't been to a wedding, I wish. But apparently this month is bad for weddings, there was one when we first arrived but no more since.
With our sarees you have to get your blouse made, I can describe it as a crop top with sleeves to go underneath your saree.. But anyway went to see relatives who stitch blouses as they're called, and they were divine and we had such a long chat about everything and they bought out their wedding silk sarees for our interest, I can't elaborate now but I will later!
Well my body is taking it's tole if I'm honest. After a day we're so tired, I can only put it down to not realising how exhausting teaching is, and the heat. We're also pretty weak right now.
Don't know what we ate, but we both woke up feeling sick and stomach not great on Monday morning. We went to school but Suja sent us home to rest, lucky we were able to get covers for our lessons. Maybe it was strange water in coffee at the hotel breakfast (but should have been boiled), also their milk is unpasturised. Maybe the meat/chicken we ate when we got home, which is perfectly plausible, or just the extreme spice in our lunch. To be honest I love spicey food, and I'm kinda mentally immune to it and enjoy it instead of resenting it, but when you're sweating and your eyes watering and your lips burning, you can't help wonder what it's doing to your gut? It's not all brain blowing with your ears puffing out steam, but the odd bit is.
Anyway, we still decided we'd like to trip it to Madurai. Jodie started being sick early hours of Wednesday, only for an hour. We were both shivery with goosebumps and not feeling all well, I was wretching late night but wasn't sick (thank god, I'm rubbish at being sick). We delayed our departure from the hotel and ate hardly any breakfast, and ate no lunch when we got home.
On the bus just felt hot and glassy eyed. We were gazing out the window as the bus was stopped on on a street, at a chicken suspended from a stall and the carcass of a rabbit? But don't know if they have rabbits but either way..
Staring at it for a second was enough for Jodie to say: 'People wouldn't actually purchase that would they? It's cooking in the heat, it's probably been there since we last drove past. This is why we get sick'
I'm not saying all meat is sold like that, but a little wake up call maybe? To be honest, I don't think there was anything wrong with our meal at Madurai, the chicken was soft and perfectly cooked, I just think our stomachs weren't ready for another spice on slaught having not eaten much the previous two days. Jodie, unusually, ate a lot more than me, which is probably why she was the sick one. Either way, I love this food, but like I said, it takes it's tole.
That with water loss, trying to keep your body cool must take up so much energy. Also just talking and having the moisture evaporate off your tongue. Okay I exagerate, but three weeks of this and far more increased than home, depletes you some what.
Started to lose weight this week, not the healthiest, but comme ci comme ca.
Tuesday lunch we had no lessons in the afternoon, so hopped on a bus to Madurai city (2hrs east).
Each Tuesday evening there is a meal organised at a rooftop restaurant on the top of the Maduai Residency hotel, most vollunteers are in the city so it's an easy evening to go to. So we decided having met some at the weekend this could be fun plan, so planned to stay at the hotel.
In the afternoon when to 'hajeemoosa' a saree shop and spent a good while choosing a silk and cotton saree, amazing shop! (why didn't a I take pictures?). Thing is we had problem with our other sarees so returned them to the other shop and re-bought. We also got an 'olive bag' - basically their idea of a reusable bag.
At check-in, we hadn't booked, so most unfortunately resorted to taking an a/c suite, harsh life I know (it's not all hard here don't worry). Following Jodie's awesome uni results which we got at lunch, we had a round of cocktails on room service with nibbles, then proceded to a yumyum meal, we went for something a bit more 'national' with chicken tandorri and tika massalaa. Vollunteers were cool, it's funny how you get along with people so easily when you're in this situation. You have no choice but to band together, reminded me of Seoul.
Got invited to an 'after party' in the suburbs, who are we to say no to that? Had a great night, if you want the full story you'll have to ask me at school! Amongst other things, I definitely recommend racing through a dark city on a motorbike.
Right I have a headache and am at pheonix temperature, so I promise this may be more illiterate than usual but there we go! This is going to be little things and stories when I think of them! This last week has been more school and more constructed lessons, they're all very sweet but can be a bit much to handle, while trying to tell the younger ones one thing you are constantly bombarded with questions about something completely different. There's always cheering when it turns out me and Jodie are walking into one of their classrooms. The olders ones can be great as well, they understand us better but it's hard getting out of them what they want to learn about - they're a bit more respectful most likely? I love all of them, but '6th Standard' are terrors, all with good intesions but channel their energy into all differenct directions. Little funny things crop up, like a teacher in grade 5 calling us in to explain something about British wildlife, which there isn't a lot of to begin with, and when you have 8 and 9 year olds asking you questions like 'what is your national fruit/ vegetable' we had to sort of try to laugh and come up with the most plausible answer? As for wildlife in Britain we came up with things like hedgehogs and robins, but then the teacher asks us about different tree varieties we had to sort of make it up.. oh course I gave an indepth description of a horse-chestnut and it's life through out the year, including the squirrels' activity of burying conkers for food and forgetting about them, and about the moth killing the trees - which in fact they all thought was fascinating....? Jodie was just killing herself. The rapture on their faces helped keep me serious! As Jodie sarcastically said when we left, 'British wildlife?! But of course I'm a regular watcher of David Attenborough!' By far the best question I've been asked so far is 'what animals do you grow?' (talking about pets). I have to say, the youngest year we teach which is 3rd Standard at about 7/8/9 years old are just treasures. Once you know how to handle them and talk to them, rub their hair, crouch down to talk to them they are just the most responsive lovely children. Kidnapping schemes are currently being put into action. I find my 'smile muscles' aching when I walk out the door. I'm 'Nicky mam'. Ears are filled with this and good mornings/afternoons. Common sentence: 'you come to our class now?' School bus is same old same old, beyond exhausted at the end of each day! I'm making an 'only in india list'. :) Wardrobe size is increasing!
I would do our entire trip to India again just to witness the surgery we saw at Deen Clinic on Monday night. A female dog, who had quite obviously had puppies before, was there for a hysterectomy. She was given a pre-anesthetic (Xylazine), then waited outside until her surgery. A couple of dogs came in for vaccinations, and one dog came in for Parvovirus treatment. The dog infected with Parvovirus was given IV fluids, along with medications. The table the Parvovirus dog had been lying on was cleaned with water and a sponge. The surgery dog was then brought in, and placed on the same table. An anesthetic (Ketamine) was administered, and a plastic device was placed in the dog's mouth to hold it open during surgery (no mask or tube). The dog was shaved and the surgery site was cleaned with an iodine solution. The incision site was not ventral, but rather was on the left flank. The atmosphere during the surgery was very relaxed. There were no stethoscopes or beeping breath monitors. The doctor was accommodating and allowed us to take pictures of everything, and we didn't have to worry about entering a sterile zone. The dog's bladder was not expressed before surgery, so there was a puddle of urine on the table. After the uterus had been removed, the doctor sewed her back up using very thick sutures, and proceeded to wrap a bandage all the way around her abdomen. She was given 3 injections, then carried to the car, and taken home to recover. The actual surgery took about 30 minutes. There were 6 people standing around during the surgery, so we had no clue who the owner was. One very nice man approached us after the surgery and asked us to e-mail him the pictures we took. He told us the dog was a street dog and he arranges and pays for captures and spays/neuters. It was 9:30 pm by the time we left the clinic, and there were no women around. The nice man flagged down a rickshaw for us and insisted on paying for our ride home.
On Tuesday morning we went to a veterinary dispensary about an hour away from our house. The dispensary was very busy, and the vet saw over 40 cases for AI, preg-checks, pyometra, and other problems. In the afternoon we went to Veterinary Poly Clinic, and observed 2 spays and one neuter. There were quite a few differences from the surgery we had witnessed the evening before. The surgery sites were shaved with a blade, as they did not have surgical clippers. The surgical site and tools were cleaned with iodine. There were two surgeons and both of them wore surgical gloves, aprons, and hair nets. They worked together on the spays, but the neuter was a "one man job". The surgeries were performed on a surgery table in a room designated for surgeries. The doctors were very nice and allowed us to enter the surgery room with hair nets and bare feet. We were asked to assist with drawing up and administering injections, and various other tasks before, during, and after surgery. The spays were similar to what I am used to seeing. The incision was made on the ventral area of the abdomen, and spay hooks (rather than fingers) were used to find the uterus. IV fluids were administered during the surgeries and visual observation was used to determine when more Ketamine should be given. There was a strict sterile zone during the surgeries and the incisions were sutured very neatly. The clinic is government sponsored, so the surgeries only cost 80 rupees ($2) each. After the surgeries, a dog came in for x-rays for a suspected intestinal blockage. This was the first time we saw an x-ray machine at a clinic here. I was especially interested to see that they develop the x-rays in a similar manner to how my dad developed pictures from film in our home when I was little. I really enjoyed working at this clinic with Dr. Senthil Kumar and am very grateful to him for letting Emma, Michelle, and I assist in all the cases he saw. That evening, we went to Madurai Residency to have dinner with all of the volunteers. We were immaturely entertained by the language differences between the English and Americans involving words like pants and fanny packs.
On Wednesday morning we went to the veterinary dispensary. It took well over an hour to get there because our driver took back roads to avoid paying the highway toll. We saw a few goat castrations ("crush it" method), and about 20 cows came in for various reasons. One cow came in because another cow had stabbed it in the brisket with its horn and the wound was filled with maggots. It was quite disgusting. That evening we went to Deen Clinic, but the doctor never came. We went home and found our family sitting on the living room floor, watching TV and finishing up their dinner. Our host father asked us if we would like to have our dinner given to us in the same way, and we were pleased to accept the invitation. The TV show was very dramatic and entertaining, especially because we couldn't understand a single word that was said. We really enjoyed having our dinner and watching TV with the family.
Today (Thursday) we had a veterinary camp in the village of Vileacheri. There were four doctors and 8 veterinary volunteers. There were a ton of animals and we all assisted by deworming the goats. The village is famous for making idols out of clay, so we were able to see them molding and painting the statues. We visited Umai-Andar Cave Temple and saw a lot of monkeys.
Christina and Jagoda planned a trip to Bangalore to see Harry Potter, because English films have been outlawed in Madurai. I wasn't ready to make a trip to Bangalore just to see Harry Potter, but when I found out there is a Hard Rock Cafe there I quickly accepted their invitation to tag along, and somehow convinced my mom to go too. Looking forward to our 9 hour bus ride tonight!
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