Our project phase is going SO well. We’ve nearly completed the check dam at the top of the gravity water feed and are in the process of finishing the water tank. We’re all putting in maximum effort and have developed a good relationship with the villagers (they even give us chai!). Almost a quarter of the pipe-laying work has been completed which will eventually meet the work that Echo 6 are doing.
During the past few days we’ve decorated our campsite by building a table out of bamboo (which sadly collapsed after being sat on by three heavy guys). We’ve made the best long drop ever and had campfire nights and morning group exercise classes and had group lunches and dinners. We’ve been teaching and playing with the local children and we’ve learnt a lot from them in return. We’ve learnt a number of Tamil phrases such as vanakam (hello).
We’ve seen elephants, deer and butterflies as big as birds! We’re working from the top of the hill and the view is incredible it makes the steep climb every morning worthwhile.
Above: the water run
We’re all looking forward to going on our safari (tomorrow), which is being led by the local forestry commission and to all the fun days and nights ahead of us in Ramaranai.
Echo 5 hard at work at the top of the hill!
Above: Echo 6's bashers
Echo 5 by Laura Morgan and Becca Hammond
We are the fantastic Echo 5
Eating rice to stay alive
Be it sun or be it rain
We’re up the hill, we wont complain
Slippery rocks, potential falls
Building lots of concrete walls,
Digging trenches and scooping dirt,
Lets just hope no one gets hurt
The stars are out the fire’s on
In India what could go wrong!?
And just a stones throw away Emily Hakin and Rosie Crocker at Echo 6 let us know how they are getting on...
It’s 6am and the alarm bell rings, the yoga junkies jump out their bashers, grab their roll mats and perform salutations as they watch the sun rise over the mountains.
6:30am and there is a low grumble, no, not the calling of the elephants, but the sounds of Echo 6’s man force falling out of their bashers ready to start the day.
6:45am, the infamous water run. We march through the village and up to the water pump which is in elephant and viper territory, outside the safety of the electric fence. We march back with 25kg on our shoulders to the echoing of our rumbling bellies with only one thought on our minds…porridge.
Above: L-R Jackie, Emily, Lotte, Rosie, Will, Claire and Victoria on the water run We dig, we snack, we pole, we sweat, we snack. We dig, we sweat, we snack, we trench some more, we pole some more, we collapse! Thank god it’s 12pm and then we lunch.
It’s 8:20 and its high ho off to work we go time. Slap on the suncream for our seven hours of strenuous manual labour. Stretching us to our limits, the only thing that keeps us going is the thought of our favourite new snack…peanut crunch.
We keep our heads high as we are shouted at in Indian that we are not strong enough. We laugh it off, we trench. Its 4pm and the thought of showering alone in the forest where there isn’t even a fig leaf lifts our sweaty mood as we complete the final push for the day.
We arrive here to the camp to the sweet aroma of our dinner cooking. We chill.Above: Echo 6's menu ideas
We review the day over a cup of teas our bodies close down for the day.
It’s 9:30pm, the sun has gone down and we fall asleep in our bashers underneath the stars listening to the sound of elephants. They are 100 yards away calling to each other as they stamp through the forest. We start again tomorrow at 6am, we are Echo 6.
The best of Echo 6…so far, some of Echo 6’s top moments by Jackie MustoeAbove: Jackie skipping with the local children
Work is physical but the demands are overcome by rewards. The Western ghats surround our camp providing the most stunning views at work.
Our food - the amazing satisfaction the peanut crunch provides and devouring delicacies made up of either rice, noodles or pasta complimented by tuna, sweetcorn or baked beans.
Our camp, Rich and Nick’s innovative park bench poohole as the best outdoor toilet ever and bashers, sleeping in style and absolute comfort. Pumping water from the well and building up those guns of steel, then getting back to nature and showering with buckets of fresh cold water.
Standing in silence at night, peering through the electric fence, hoping for a glimpse of an Indian elephant…
That's all from the Echo groups check back soon for some messages for home.