On to Chennai - Terry has a rash!

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
Trip End Feb 24, 2013

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Where I stayed
Fortel Hotel, Chennai

Flag of India  , Tamil Nadu,
Thursday, December 6, 2012

Today we head off to Chennai for the last of the project visits before some chill out time in Goa. Terry unfortunately has come out in red spots over his body and is still not feeling great so we hope to have time to see a doctor in Chennai.   Although we only spent a brief time with the children at the rubbish dump in Kalyan we were warned that skin infections are easy to catch…hope it's nothing too serious! 

Yesterday we went back to visit Bhaskar and see some more of the children at Rescue and Restore.    Whenever we visit there are always 2 or 3 young men running round doing errands and jobs. We got chatting with Balush who is now 24 years old (see picture with Terry).  He grew up at the home and then trained as a lorry driver.  He now has his own lorry and when he is not driving spends time with his 'family’ at the home and helps Bhaskar out. 

We also met Shaik who was the first of Bhaskars boys to be married and now has one child and another due on 21st December.   Bhaskar informed us that he needs to start looking out for nice wives for Raju and Basha as he would like to see them married in 2015.

5 o’clock each night is volley ball time and we stayed to watch the oldest children in what looked like rather a serious match.  We were also shown round the garden where the children grow papaya, bananas, aloe Vera, onions and many other things they use in the home.     

We had dinner with Dr Sujay who we first met in 2008.   He spent 19 years of his life working with leprosy and now his organisation Nireekshana runs a clinic for HIV infected patients and his wife Dr Lavanya does research in to early intervention of HIV.  They are the most amazing couple and we always find it so inspiring to spend time with them.  We were joined by some of his friends and a few from other NGO’s and were really inspired to hear about a network of Christian NGO’s in Hyderabad called the Blossom Network.  They are all involved in helping the poorest people in the city, particularly the children and come together to support each other.  They instigate research in to various issues and share the information and actions required.   One of their initiatives is an annual Christmas party for children from very poor communities, it started with 300 children a few years ago but this year will be hosting a party for over 1,000 children.  Such a shame we can’t stay on for this.

Our time in Hyderabad has been great and it feels like a city which is really getting its act together around so many issues.

We met a lovely young guy in the airport who is a NRI (Non Resident Indian) living in Washington.  We had a great debate about how to clean up corruption in India – he has our e mail address so it may continue as a virtual debate.

We arrived in Chennai and found the usual noise, smell, heat, dirt and general chaos – back to the India we know and love.  The local taxis are still the wonderful old Senator cars, very uncomfortable and with no A/C but lovely all the same. We are staying at the Fortel Hotel in Chennai.  The room overlooks the railway line and we have a large number of pavement families living just outside the hotel gate.  We braved it to a local pharmacy who were confident in giving us tablets and cream for Terry’s lovely red spots (they are getting bigger but not quite boils yet!).

What’s in the News :    The lower houses of parliament have voted to allow Foreign investment in to the retail sector which means that Walmart and Tesco could be coming to India.   A sad day!

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