Kodai Kanal School and Boarding

Tuesday 6th - We travelled to Kodai Kanal in a jeep - I would usually come on a bus, but two sisters wanted to come with me to visit.  It was much nicer and less bumpy than travelling in a crowded bus.  Kodai is high up in the mountains and the higher we went, the cooler it got.  So now I am wearing a cardigan over my sari and I have socks on.  We greeted the Sisters and had lunch - rice and sambal and three different vegetables, followed by a custard apple.  (If you don’t know what a custard apple is, then go to Thangachimadam page  3  and there is a photo of one.)  The children had already had their lunch. 

At 4.30 I went to meet the girls.  Nearly all of them had met me before, but there was a new girl who is only in Year One who saw me, burst into tears, ran away and then fell over!  She was scared of me!  She had never seen a tall person with a white face and short brown hair.  So I knelt down and smiled at her and the other girls told her that I was Julie Auntie and a nice person, so she should not be frightened.  Now she is smiling happily. 

In the kitchen the cook was preparing the afternoon snack.  They cook with gas or over an open fire.  You are not allowed to cut down trees in this area, but the children collect broken branches and fallen palm leaves and they also burn coconut shells.   For their snack they had black tea and green gram - which I know as mung beans.  They were boiling everything in great big pots over the fire, then put the tea and beans into buckets and carried them outside to serve. 

I tried the tea - it was very bitter and didn’t have milk or sugar in it.  The green gram was nice.  (The electricity has just gone off.)  I asked the girls if I could come and have supper with them - they were very excited.

Then I visited the boys’ side - they were having the same to eat and drink.   I am going to have breakfast with them tomorrow.   The boys were asking more questions than the girls “From which country are you coming?”  “For how many days are you staying here?”  I told them I was going to a wedding on Sunday, so they were asking about that as well.

Since I was here last year, the girls’ toilets have been renovated - now they look very smart!  On one side are bathing rooms and on the other two, toilets.  Rainwater is collected from the roofs and goes through pipes to a big storage tank under the ground - you can see the cover, marked with a red arrow.  From there it is pumped up into the big black containers on the roof.   So their water is free.

After their snack and drink, the children go to study and do their homework until 7 o’clock.  Prayers are until 7.30 and then it is time for supper.  The food is cooked where the girls live and the boys come over and collect their pots of food and carry them back to their quarters.  For supper we had rice and pepper water with some chopped egg.  I only had a little as the Sisters made me have some supper with them first, as they thought I would not like what the children were having.  However, it was very nice!  You can see from the photo that pepper water is exactly that - flavoured water.  I was given more egg than the girls though!  The children here do not have any fruit, yogurt or puddings, but I have fruit in my room so I have had a banana.


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