Wednesday, 16 October 2013

This entry was actually written two weeks ago, but I didn’t get the chance to post it on time…. I hope y’all will enjoy reading it, even though it’s a bit out-dated. Love!

Hello again!

I’m back! Sorry you didn’t hear from me these past two weeks. Internet is sometimes a bit of a problem here…;).
I wish i had written earlier so that I could tell you about all the things that have happened in smaller portions. As it is, I will probably forget to write about half of it. But I promise I will do my best to give you most of the highlights!
After having had many exams for one whole week, the boys were set free to have 10 days of holidays last week. They were so happy to not have to study for more than a week! Most of the boys go home to their villages and stay with their family. Since most of the boys are orphans or half-orphans, they stay with aunts and uncles, grandparents or other extended family. Some boys, however, remain at the Transit Home.
For this group, there was a folk dance workshop for four days. Anne and me were feeling adventurous, so we joined. It was interesting to get to know the traditional styles of dancing in this region, which include different types of dances with sticks, flags and vases which are carried on the head while dancing. The boys enjoy dancing a lot, so they were very interested and enthusiastic during the workshop. I was also happy to be able to dance, I must admit that I do miss it A LOT. The workshop was ended with a performance for the older boys and staff at the Boy’s Home.
After those physically challenging days, w settled ourselves comfortably in the car and took off in direction of the mountains. Since the boys were still on holidays we were left with 4 more free days. On the way to Ooty, which is at the western boarder of Tamil Nadu, we visited Salem. We went there mainly to visit three more Don Bosco projects, one of which is a home for HIV infected children.
A few hours after leaving Salem, we started going uphill and so the first of many breath-taking panoramas. The mountains are a bit different here from what we are used to In Europe, there is no gradual build-up, where you have some hills first, then some bigger hills, and the n even bigger hills before you reach the actual mountains. Here it is flat, flat, flat and the suddenly there are mountains. It is impossible for me to capture the beauty of the landscape in words or even in photographs. Everywhere you turn it is green, but not just that, it is so green that the greenness of it all almost blinds you. It’s a bit like being snow-blind, but then with green. In this region, there are many tea plantations, which provide work and income to the villagers. Again, we stayed at a Don Bosco project, which is also surrounded by many rows of tea trees. Although we knew that it was going to be colder in the mountains, the temperature hit us like a shock. It was still around 15°C, but after having gotten used to 35°C every day, it felt like it was closer to zero! Oh oh oh, I’m already scared of coming back to Northern Europe in December!
Close to Ooty, there is a national park, which we went to visit. Mudumali/Bandipur National Park is home to wild elephants, antilopes and deer varieties, bisons, wild boar, different kinds of monkeys and even about thirty tigers. Altough there are many animals living there, being able too actually see them is a matter of luck. So we entered the Park with all our fingers crossed and the camera at the ready, and…. We got lucky!!! We saw five wild elephants, 2 singles and one family with a little one and big hoards of spotted deer. We also saw many monkeys, but only one kind and groups of bisons (Those fellows are big! Our driver, Akash, got very nervous when one bison seemed to take some interest in us…). We were also lucky enough to spot a few peacocks and wild boar.
After seeing the national park we proceeded to Mysore, where we visited the Maharaja’s Palace. It was very impressive, only a pity that tourists can only see a small portion of the building complex. The inside of the palace is decorated with a love of detail that is astonishing and hints at the wealth that the royal families must once have possessed.
We spent the next day visiting the sights in Ooty, which includes a Tea Museum, where we got to know about the process of making tea, the rose garden, a beautiful lake and the botanical garden. I was especially impressed with the rose garden where we found endless varieties of rose in well-maintained flowerbeds. If you’re ever in the region, it’s worth a visit;)!!
We travelled back to Pondicherry yesterday, since the boys are starting school again today.

On a more serious note, i have a question to those of you who managed to read to the end of this enormous entry;). I’m trying to find funding for an excursion that Anne and me would like to organize for the boys. Our plan is to take them to Trichy, which is a city located south of Pondicherry with rich cultural heritage. It would be something really special for the boys, most of whom have never been outside of Pondicherry and their native villages. In Trichy we would like to have mass at a big and beautiful church for those boys who are Christian (which is the majority). After that we would like to visit Rockfort Temple which is a historical as well as a spiritual place. In the afternoon we would like to visit the Kallanai /Grand Anicut Dam, which was built during the Chola empire in the 2nd century AD. After that we will go for a swimJ… So we hope to have an educational program as well as a good time for the boys! As we will take all of the boys (150), you can imagine that some cost is involved. The total cost will come to approximately 500€. We have been able to raise 300€ up until now, so if there is anyone among you who thinks he or she would like to donate a few euros, it would be a great help! Any amount will make a difference.

You can transfer donations into my german or my dutch account:
Inhaber: Kristin Anett Wiskemann
Kontonr.: 3017195824
BLZ: 20110022
IBAN: DE98201100223017195824

753981661 - Mw A K Wiskemann
IBAN: NL56INGB0753981661

Many, many thanks in advance to all of you who pitch in! I personally guarantee that your money will be used to put a smile on the boy’s faces!

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