School. No it’s not, it’s hot

1 Dec

Hello. I left you lingering over the thought of me, an atheist, visiting a Christian school. So let me explain how this happened.

I did what as a child you are taught not to do; talk to a strange man in a car. Jaipeep pulled up beside me and explained he had set up a school for village children, would I like to come and stay for a while. Well I think part of travelling is about taking opportunities when they present themselves and throwing yourself into the unknown, so I did. 

I ‘skitched’ (held on to a moving vehicle whilst riding a bike) the 30 km hanging onto the window at breakneck speeds to the school. I was staying at Victor’s, Jaideep’s father house on the grounds. The first day I took a drive with Jaideep while he ran errands and came home to a lovely meal (They were all great, it was nice to have home cooking instead of restaurant food) of chicken curry with beer and scotch. Thank God they weren’t T-total Christians.

the following afternoon I was plonked in classroom in front of 12 or so expectant kids with no lesson plan or preparation. It was a little nerve racking at first but basically just had a relaxed lesson of explaining my trip, trying to get them to practice English and having fun. Afterwards I had a kick about with a few lads, the hours of heads and volleys at uni paid dividends. I left the next day after a blessing in Telugu from Pastor Joe.

So how was this experience. The family were very lovely, really welcoming and easy to talk to; we had some good debates and I Iearnt a bit about Indian culture from the inside (I was a bit shocked about Sylvie rushed in the morning, feeding us and getting the kids ready fetching her husbands socks for him). I have a huge amount of respect for what the family did; leaving a well paid job and moving to village out of pure altruism. Ok, so I don’t believe that ‘miracles’ occurred in the founding of the school (I would take David Hume’s stance on the matter) but they are certainly doing a good job in the face of adversity and lack of funds.

What begs-the-question for me is how and why the Indian government, one that has a space program, is failing so many village children all over the country. I will always hold a skepticism over missionary work, despite it’s good intentions and good work, I feel that it is preying on easy souls. People will believe a lot of things if alongside those belief come benefits to their life. 

If you would like to know anymore about the project, or to donate much needed funds to their cause then their website is: www.vineyardindia.org Or if any native English speakers out there would like to give up their time, live in a beautiful surroundings and teach some very willing to learn children then you would get room and board for free. 

So I left Sunday morning, after my blessing, and proceeded to get struck by a bout of diarrhea (I’m not going to jump to conclusions here). Foolishly I popped am Immodium to get me the 40km to Ashwaropet, which probably harboured the bug than would have been otherwise in me and prolonged the illness. So for 4 days I watched bad american films; such as Captain America, Hitch and Cruel Intentions (which is even worse with the swearing and anything the slightest bit raunchy cut out). And familiarised myself with the awful adverts that you see 10 times a day on loop. 

After that hiatus the riding up until now has been excellent. It was nice to see the back of Andhra Pradesh, where I have spent almost all my time so far. A.P was predominantly flat and farms of cotton or rice, the last few days have been small hills and quiet roads all through forest. I have found amazing campsites both day which were a welcome change to my strip light hotel room. The moon has been full and the skies punctuated by flashing bugs.

Yesterday was a challenge, the road was almost not existent or like riding over a wash board. It was tough going, being bumped up and down, surviving on biscuits as there was a long way between towns and very getting very hot. I got covered in the fine red dust whenever a truck went past that stuck to my sweat to make a thick grime coating. There were frequent police checkpoints because I am in a Naxalite  affected area (A communist militia group that try to recruit the villagers and occasionally blow things. I wrote my dissertation on them). These added to the feeling of adventure that the small roads through the forest instilled and were quite funny. One police man was very impressed with my big shiny knife, but I wasn’t willing to part ways with it despite his frequent requests.

I had an easy morning today only covering 50 km and checked into a lodge in Malkangiri after registering at 2 different police stations, who seemed bemused as to why I would like to come to this place, especially on bike. I have a bit of a pain in the back of my thigh by my knee but hopefully should be fine by tomorrow. 

Anyway goodbye for now. Hope it’s not too cold in England, I have hot weather every day and my cycling tan is coming along nicely.

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One Response to “School. No it’s not, it’s hot”

  1. Mum December 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    I am printing off each episode of your blog for the residents who are thoroughly enjoying reading it. They are always eager for the next installment.

    Some of them have sent you birthday messages.

    Lily J: “ I wish you well and hope to see you again.”

    Eileen C: “Happy Birthday!”

    Lena: “We’re expecting you for Christmas. Pedal hard! Happy Birthday. Miss you.”

    Dotty: “All best wishes. We all miss you and hope you come back to us.”

    Eileen R: “Happy Birthday!”

    Edith: I hope you are enjoying your holiday. We are all thinking about you. It will be nice for you to come back home and see us and tell us all about it.

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