Over the last few days, Tim and I (Donks) have been off on the loop visiting the groups to see how they’re all getting on.
First stop was Tango 5, the trekkers. We picked the right day to visit as it was their day off trekking and we arrived just in time for a chicken curry dinner! The weather and leeches are being slightly kinder to them this phase however that is not to say their presence has vanished all together. The group are all in good spirits and were enjoying their much deserved day off camping next to a beautiful lake. We spent the night with them there before waving them off in the morning as we went our separate ways, the T5 on foot and us in our trusty Bravo.
Then it was on to Charlie 2 in Thirukapatra to see how their toilet construction skills are coming on. They had finished the cesspits for all 14 units and were beginning to brick up the insides. We spent the day with C2 counting and moving bricks carefully avoiding the slippery paths the rain had left behind.
|Jason counting out the bricks on site|
|Ram, Kai and Fahim|
|Louise and Manpreet|
|Ashley and Tabby|
|Dwayne, Kai, Charlie and Ram|
|Charlie 2 outside their Community centre|
|Amy in Charlie 1's shelter|
|Charlie 1 Project Managers, Susan & Lou|
|Alex in Charlie 1|
Monday morning arrived and we packed up the car again and headed over to BD Munti to see how Mike 2 (Malmesbury School) were getting on with their eco-sanitation project. On arrival into the village the views of the reservoir were incredible and we all immediately got a really good feeling about this place. This was completely backed up when we met up with the first mini-group who were standing by what looked like an almost finished unit. They are all progressing fantastically and are storming though the workload - It was day 5 when we saw them and they had already finished the bases of all 14 toilet units and were working closely with local masons to make good progress constructing the sides. The group are all sleeping in the village school in a classroom and are being cooked for by the families there. They are settling in really well and were planning chai and chapatti making lessons with the families. After another incredible home cooked lunch with M2 we jumped back in the Bravo and headed over to Huskarhadi to see Echo 3.
We arrived just after E3 had finished their lunch and luckily for us they were having the afternoon off from trenching so we got to have a proper chat and catch up with them all. The group have had a battle on their hands with the rain over the past week or so but it looks like the worst of it has passed and they are getting stuck back into digging the trench. They had to change their plan of attack on the trench and have dug a huge amount length ways and now the weather is back on their side they are able to start digging down. They are spending every other morning at the local school and have undertaken some small restoration projects with them, painting the children’s play area and have plans in place to paint a mural to brighten the place up for them. Echo 3 went to visit The Golden Temple in Bylakuppe yesterday and have been invited to the headmasters’ house for tea this weekend so they have plenty going on.
|Celia reads out everyones blog messages at Echo 3|
|Echo 3 Headquarters|
That’s it from us here, all the groups are getting on really well and it was really nice to see each and every one of them getting stuck into their projects. Here are a few messages from some of them to tell you all about it themselves before the 10 week groups arrive back on August 10th. Happy reading!
From Sam Walter.
Hello father, mother and sister. All is good. Sitting in tent on trek at the moment: Day 6. It’s day off, we have been cycling and walking. The cycling has been amazing, and the weather has been moderate…Tell Poppy good luck for A-level results (if they are out yet). I will try and email/phone in a week or 2. Over and Egg.
From Alex Jackman
To Dad, Mum, Mattie and Sarah
Yes, lots of hair and less weight! Had a (wet) shave in Huskurhadi, seems ages ago. So much happening on trek, mainly forests and towns but about to do four days on foot! Cycling has been unbelievably fun , especially downhill. Glad it’s hot, it’s cloudy but not too much rain..yet. Miss you all, hope my letter arrives before I do! Xxx
From Alex Jackman
Hi ! Hope everything ok at home, trek is AMAZING! Really great people and adventure every day, though I’m pretty knackered. Just wanted to also say that I put a joke in response to yours last time – was it censored? LOL Just having brilliant time, had chicken today for first time in months…hope you get my letter, see you soon! Xxx
From Alex Jackman
Antihistamine much appreciated – many bites from many creatures – had first leech bite last night! India is wet but very beautiful, I’ll return with lots of stories. Miss you! Alexander x
From Katia Philip
Big love from a Welsh gyal ina di jungle! This is most definitely an adventure. 10 hours of trek or bike a day through dense, wild jungle to peaks of mountains overlooking clouds and tea plantations, crossing rivers up to our wrists and balancing across 2 foot bamboo bridges, I feel more and more like a female version of Rambo everyday! Times can be very hard but its all worth it as I’m exploring the secrets of India that very few are able to experience. I love and miss you all! The elephants, tigers, snakes, monkeys and spiders all say hi! Love Katia xxx P.s. The bike rides are immensely amazing and the next ride is on my birthday – good times! Wish you could all be with me but I’ll be absolutely dandy!
From Kat Rosen
Hi Dad! 7 days on trek! It’s going great, no trench foot yet. Only leech bites so far. Hope everything is OK at home! Speak to you on the 10th! Love Kat xxx
From Manpreet Sidhu
Hey guys how are you miss you loads!! On community phase atm really muddy here and on day 7 of no bath (water’s too cold) lol. Got a new team of people having loads of fun and hard work. Musi and Shannon please look out for email; (only got yours) about changing flights for extra 10 days if it don’t cost too much extra; and details on work dates for Steph; also Mom can you check paper work I left for you. Tell lucky good luck! And have a great trip; be a emotional one and thinking about it a lot; Wish Rajan a happy birthday and mumi; and a happy anniversary to Mumi and Mama. P.s. I have no ginger bits in my hair lol. Also can you email Raleigh with flight details xxxx Mandy xxx got loop today – don’t need waterproofs mum I am cool; found my jacket p.s. didn’t get post today. Sad times xxx
From Tabitha Ha
To Mum, Barry, Alex, Emily, Dad, Marlene and Joey
My group is staying in a tribal community building 13 or 14 toilets. We’ve been digging and bricklaying so far and making good progress! The village is slowly making more contact with us – we’ve been playing cricket with the kids too. It’s nice to have a rest after the break and yes the signs of trekking have cleared up! It’s been better weather too - I definitely underestimated the monsoon rain! I’ve written letters to you both so I hope they get to you soon. Mum, Barry, Alex and Emily, I hope you have a good flight and have a fantastic time in Florida. Dad, Marlene and Joey, I hope you’re enjoying the summer. I should be able to get on the internet soon around the 11th I think, so keep an eye out. Lots of love, Tabitha xx. P.S. Feel free to get me a present from the US!
To all the West Sussex ladies!
I got your massive essay of a message today, will be a nice bedtime read after work today . On a community phase building toilets and it’s going well. Missing you lots. I got to go on a Facebook but it kept crashing. I wrote you a big message but it didn’t send but will catch up with you all after Raleigh. Can’t wait till you’re out here Vicki! You must be wrapping up work right about now, yay! Maria you must be on summer hols now, hope you’re having sunny fun! Hope Scotland plans are going good Kiani! Catherine, Xavier is cool and you know it, even if he is like Herbert! Love you all long time. Hope Crawley town and The Sham are treating you well! Chaitali xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
To Mum, May, Amit, Clare & Al,
Wow, Alex sounds like an adorable little alien with his own language and toothy smile! Glad you’re all well, missing you all tons. I’m on community phase building toilets in a tribal village in Tamil Nadu. It’s going well. Keep me updated on news. Lots of love, Chatsy xxxxxxxxxxx
From Ashley Johns
Hello everyone! On community phase at the mo. We’ve been digging lots of cesspits and we have started building inside them – lots of brick laying. I’m a pro! Finally seen some elephants on our drive here which was great! Getting eaten alive by mozzies though, and there’s a huge spider that lives in my stuff. Loads of rain – no need for all that sun cream!!! Hope you are all having a lovely summer. Eru [Editor: sp?] can’t wait for a nandos date!! Love and hugs – Ashley xxxxxxxxx
From Louise McStravick
To everyone – Not bun up – had about 4 days of sunshine in total rest of the time been monsooned on! I presume anonymous message is Nicola – what have I told you about writing your name! When are you due – am I going to miss it? Loads of vegetarian food here and have rice with every meal – my stomach does not like it! Although we have purchased ourselves four chickens from the local town with which we have had to prepare from scratch if you catch my drift – damn tasty though. In a tribal village in Tamil Nadu – middle of nowhere cannot contact until 10th August when I can go on internet am 5 ½ hours ahead so if you go on fb early you can catch me. My phone will be on also. Estelle and Jess – We must go Manchester warehouse project when I am back September times – I’ve hear good things about it. Miss you all. Love you all xxx
From Sarah Whetter
Hey all! Charlie 2 are charging along in Thirukapatra and attempting to complete the challenge of building 16 toilets for our little tribal village. So far, so good? It’s so satisfying watching them materialize before our eyes – I think I might become a bricklayer when I get home, definitely a hidden talent there. The locals are now looking less bewildered than when we arrived and we’re learning a few words of Tamil which helps international relations. We are already 1 week into this phase, its flying by. Hope all are healthy and happy. Miss ye! Love Sarah x
From Dwayne Robinson
Dear friends, family and mom. I wrote a previous message to you guys but I am not sure if it got through. It said that I missed you guys. I finished the trek which was great and I have started my next phase. I just want you guys to know I am thinking about you. Mom stop reading other people blogs and feeling bad. LOL. You have one of your own now. I am having fun and I don’t regret anything. Oh and I just got all the blog messages!! I love you guys and I appreciate the support. I am thinking of you guys over here. P.s.Don’t worry about the braces LOL, they are fine! Love you guys and see you soon. Dwayne Robinson.
From Catherine Playfair
To Lucy Curzon
Hey lovely lady! Thank you so much for your blog message and letter – thinking of you here and reminiscing about our nightly Parle G and peanut binges! I LOVED the trek – Nikhil and Johnson say hi. I’m building toilets in a small tribal village with Charlie 2 now and I’m loving it again – so exciting watching something materialize from the fruits of our labour! I hope all is well with you and I can’t wait to swap stories when I return. Loads of love. Catherine Playfair xxx
From Catherine and Sarah
To Kate Stacey
Vanakum from Thirukapattra! We’re having an awesome time digging cesspits and laying bricks in our little tribal village and obviously the best PM team Charlie 2 could have hoped for…! Hoping to do some teaching at the local school (We thought some Anglo-Kiwi language lessons would go down a treat) No proposals for either of us (yet), probably because we’re rocking the butch look most days. Hope you’re still enjoying being a lady of leisure and the pottery lessons, trips to Wimbledon and champers at the polo aren’t getting too tedious. Miss you heaps, Love Catherine and Sarah x
Harry! Got your message thanks! Having a fabulous time, the community are fantastic and everyone is working hard on the project. Saw an elephant 5 metres away watching through the tea plantations this morning, so exciting. Send my love to everyone. Miss you too. Lou x
To Ish, Hi babe, got your blog messages! (two). Really put a massive smile on my face thanks Bubz. I hope everything is going well. I’ll be back at fieldbase on August 10th so I’ll definitely speak to you then. I’m enjoying this phase, got the BIG, SCARY but wonderful trek next – I think I start that around August 13th or 14th. Miss you like crazy each and everyday! Sent you another letter. That should be the 3rd. Looking forward to receiving your letter! Love you more than ever! Donya xx
Hey mom, mae, ebby and New G! I miss u guys so much! A lot a lot! I won’t say much about my experience here but I love you all and I hope you guys miss me lol Being here makes you really appreciate what you have at home. So anyways love you and please write back!! Write on the blog mom and everybody else!! LOL! P.S. I’ll be in Ooty on Thursday August 4th 2011 so can you be on Facebook to talk to you guys please. O and I had a dream about Ebby (a good one) it was about him singing. O and tell new G I love them and to really love and appreciate what they have there and to love each other and their leaders. Sometimes you don’t see what you have until you’re out in the world by yourself. Also tell papa he would love it here because all they have are bananas, jackfruit which taste like bananas, chocolate, chocolate cookies, wafers covered in chocolate, more assorted types of cookies and chips, which I really hate and would normally not eat at home!! LOL Also tell him I hope he is having fun at home watching all the television he can LOL!!! Tell Granny that as much as she gave me those “lectures” and “bible studies” that I miss them and even though it seems like I’m not listening I always am, that I always remember her words. Tell Pastors I said hi and that I luv them and hope they are doing well. Tell my Daddy and Clarke side that I said hey whats up. See you in a month and a half.
From Elvis Ku
To my dearest family members: How are you all? I have been living here for more than one month already. Really miss you all! I have finished the whole trekking, nowadays I am working for the environmental project in a village called “Huskurhadi”. Our targets are building a solar fence and a 40 metre feet long EPT “Elephant Preventing Trench”. I quite enjoy doing that kind of “constructive work”. Besides, I’m alright. Don’t worry about me! P.S. Have you received my postcard? With love Elvis Ku.
From Elvis Ku
My dear Tracy: How are you? Do you enjoy the trip in Yu Nam? I’m now working in Huskurhadi for building solar fence and elephant preventing trench. It is much easier than trekking. The life here is quite regular, wake up at 6am, work between 7 to 4, sleep at 8-9pm. I get lots of time to read bible and to think. That’s awesome! I really miss you, hope you all the best! With love, Elvis Ku.
From Julia Selby
Dear friends and family, I’m having great time in Huskurhadi. I sleep in a basha and wee in a hole. It certainly is putting me out of my comfort zone! Our group are a great bunch of characters and work really hard. I know you won’t quite believe it but I’ve been digging loads, I got out a monster of a rock too, the team were impressed. Mum: I’ll start work on the veg patch if you get a digging pole! Hope you had a nice birthday. Dad & Rhian: Hope you enjoyed your visit from Softia, look forward to updated photos. Nila: Not long now till burger/ chips – yay! Lots of love Julia xxx