Trip Start Apr 28, 2006
31Trip End Oct 21, 2006
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So where did I leave off last time?! I didnt end up staying with Nita in the end - think she was too busy entertaining other people to remember about me :o( It was fine though, didnt mind being on my own just for that week! My eyes returned to normal, which was good as I would have gone crazy not being able to work for another week! I helped out in the physiotherapy department for a while, which I really enjoyed. Megha, the physiotherapist, is my age and an absolute sweetheart so we spent most of the time chatting :o) The kids love these sessions, particularly playing with the giant exercise ball (well ok maybe I enjoyed that more!) One of the older kids, Shivang, likes interviewing the volunteers so I was happily answering all his questions about myself, until he asked me what fairness cream I use on my face... I just have a white face ok, it wont tan!! Grr...
On Monday I went to a dinner party at Urvashi's, where the guests turned out to be all old fuddy-duddies who went to English public boarding schools and spent the evening boring me with tales of their 'rugger' days and moaning about all the 'bloody Pakis' in England!!! Shocking! Thursday evening I went to the 50th anniversary celebrations of the original Cheshire homes, which Raphael (where I'm working, for any of you who are a bit slow!) was a later offshoot of. Lots of kids from the surrounding schools, and even some of the disabled residents, performed dances from around the region; which were really interesting to watch! For a while anyway... three hours of it was a bit much though!
At the weekend I buggered off to Chandigarh - on me tod as usual - but luckily I met a lovely Indian girl called Disha on the bus, who I went for coffee with the next day. I was a proper culture bunny (think I just invented that phrase!) and visited the City Museum (very interesting, lots of crazy tapestries and paintings and phallic sculptures), the High Court (crap and closed) and a 'Fantasy Rock Garden'. This was amazing - it was absolutely huge and consisted of rows upon rows of human and animal figures made of rock, plastic and pretty much anything the nutter who designed the place could lay his hands on - even broken bangles! Some of the walls were built with bits of crockery! Also lots of impressive waterfalls, mosaics and a token camel standing about looking bored.
I started with a new class last week - the youngest lot - who are v cute but incredibly hard work. There's only four of them and three are lovely; which leaves Chavvi (no-one understood why I found her name funny!), a severely autistic little girl who has major anger issues and pinches and bites SO hard! And doesnt speak (apart from shouting 'Chub!' which means 'be quiet!') so you dont know what she wants when she goes schiz! Also tears around the classroom uncontrollably, screaming at the top of her voice, spits and scratches her erm private area all the time! So the past couple of weeks have been pretty draining and I am covered in bruises! She bit my arm so hard it left teethmarks today! Oh well its kept me busy I guess!
Another volunteer finally came - for the last ten days of my stay, after 6 weeks of loneliness, great! She's lovely though - her name's Sandra, she has three sons and she's a social worker from Australia. We get on really well - share similar sense of humour and she natters almost as much as me! So its been awesome having someone to hang out with and, more importantly, BITCH with! She must think I'm such a cow - 6 weeks of pent-up bitching to release! Oh well, face... bothered! God I havent said that in a while! Anyway she's never been to India before so its all a bit of a shock for her! Have been imparting my limited knowledge of how things work over here and of course my extensive Hindi vocabulary to help her out! Also showed her the non-existent sights of Dehradun - think she's already bored of the place! We went to see a Hindi movie, which turned out to be a rather large pile of poo in my opinion, but she quite liked it for the novelty value! I say novelty... Half the scenes were exact rip-offs from Indiana Jones and 'Welcome to the Jungle' - not that I've seen either of them but Sandra was suitably amused!
We went to the house of a woman called Geeta who works in Raphael, which was an interesting experience. She lives in the poor and very dirty area right next to the dry riverbed (aka rubbish dump), which Raphael is situated above. Despite the skankiness of it all, she was absolutely desperate to treat us well, and it was very embarrassing sitting in their tiny squalid room on the bed that her, her husband and their twin daughters sleep in; being force-fed a ton of snacks that probably cost her entire month's wage! The problem is that its incredibly rude to refuse anything, so even though we were probably eating her out of house and home (literally) we didnt have a choice! When Sandra tried to politely refuse her millionth piece of papad, Geeta looked at her like she'd come into her house on Christmas Day and pissed on her kids; as Peter Kay would so eloquently put it!
So its my last week now - I have just two days left before I go to Sri Lanka woohoo! Am v excited, although I'm sure I'll be really nervous nearer the time! Looking back it seems to have gone really fast here - already I've almost forgotten the period of suicidal loneliness when time dragged unbearably - kind of feel like I was being a big wuss now! I'm actually going to be quite sad to say goodbye to all the kids and the residents, although I'm definitely ready to leave here and move on to my next adventure! Lets just hope I have some friends to enjoy it with this time! For anyone who isnt really following, my 'next adventure' will involve looking after old and disabled elephants in a Sri Lankan elephant orphanage, as well as teaching English to kids - not special needs ones this time. Am hoping the elephant part doesnt ooonly involve shit-shovelling, although I suspect that might be a central aspect of the job description! Hmm... Anyway I have absolutely no idea what to expect - I dont know anything about Sri Lanka and not much more about the organisation I'm going to work for - so its all going to be a bit of a surprise, hopefully a pleasant one!
The next couple of days I'm v busy - buying little presents and making cards for people, sorting out and packing my total mess of stuff and have also been roped into making giant display posters for some of the teachers; they seem to be under the impression I have some artistic talent - they will soon be proved horribly wrong!! I have an official farewell ceremony or something tomorrow with all the important head people - am a bit scared! Some of them I havent even met yet, bit of a joke!
But anyway I better dash, its nearly dinner time haha! Ooh I guess this is my last blog from India eek!
Love to you all, wish me luck for Saturday! Til next time,
Han/Moses xxxx :oP