Fort Cochin

Trip Start Aug 24, 2008
Trip End Aug 01, 2009

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Flag of India  , Kerala,
Friday, February 13, 2009

Fort Kochi Feb. 13-22, 2009

I am overwhelmed by the kindness we have been shown. We have been here in Fort Kochi, Kerala, south-west coast of India for two days and already have been adopted by Miss June, the owner and teacher who runs our home stay. I have heard that there are some hotels in this town, but I haven't seen any, rather the place takes care of it's tourists by putting them up in home stays. This place is called Henri's Anchorage named by Henri of course whose dream it was to build a home stay. Henri's Anchorage has been open since 2007, and six months ago, Henri died of a massive heart attack, leaving Miss June, his wife and their daughter Grace to run things. Grace is the most captivating young woman that I have ever seen. She has steel blue eyes (which we found out later are contacts!) which you can't stop looking into, and her warm personality matches her beauty. She is 18 years old and is studying sciences with the goal of becoming a pilot. Henri was a sailor and never home for more that two months each year, but you can tell he was loved and is missed. Miss June has two employees who look after the Anchorage during the day when she goes to teach 7 year olds at the convent just down the street. That she has two employees are a testament to her generosity, as one person could easily do the chores that are required in the four bedroom home stay. Sindu-David looks after registering guests, answering the phone, while Jesse does the cleaning. We are very happy staying in this very clean home stay which has been cared for out of love. It shows in how everything sparkles and is in good repair. What a change from what we have experienced in the last month!

Becca tried on her saree again today and showed it to Miss June and Grace after which they brought out some gold bangles for her to wear with it. Next came a set of earrings with the same purple as the border of her saree, and a beautiful rosary for me along with four short pocket rosaries for all of us! I am taken aback by the gifts and the kindness they have shown. She also told us she is dropping our rent from 700 rupees per room to 500. I asked if it is because we are staying for a week, but she said, "No, when I take a liking to someone, that is what I do!"

There is a small shop, 'Travellers Paradise' around the corner where the owner Jude, will book tickets for travellers and by collecting a commission, he helps poor and downtrodden local people. He also teaches Yoga and is another of these people who emit calmness. He lives in France for six months of the year and in Fort Kochi for the other six. His wife is from France and their two children live duel lives in the two countries, completing school work by correspondence while here in India. We went to their home for meditation and breath exercises. We walked upstairs to the roof top which is like many others but it has a high tile roof which reminds me of the hay shelters back home. The whole thing, which is quite large, is surrounded by netting to keep the incessant crows out. This roof top area is used to air laundry, do yoga, and as outdoor living space for the family. It is surrounded by lovely trees of many types such as papaya, coconut, banana, and palms. They hope to add on dormitory rooms for the women who work for them. They employ women who make crafts which are sold in the 'Travellers Paradise' shop. We have been invited for lunch today and so will find out more of what they do.

Yesterday we found some fabric for Mom's suit called a Chudidar. Today we took it to a tailor to be sewed. I don't know why I waited so long to get the fabric. The tailor said it will be done on the 21st which means I won't be able to mail it home when we go to the post office tomorrow. Mom, I don't know if you are reading this, but if you are, I hope you like it! I won't say any more to give any thing else away....
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