Kodai Kanal Wednesday

I slept SO well last night!  My bed was quite comfortable and I had a pillow and two blankets to keep me warm.  There are NO mosquitos here! (as we are high up) and best of all, it was completely quiet!  At other places, all through the night there are lorries going past sounding their horns, music playing etc etc. 

For breakfast it was cunchi (wet rice) with chickpeas and I had a tiny slice of tomato in mine.  I ate with the boys but noticed that many are missing - they have recently had a bout of mumps.  As the children all live and sleep together, any infections or contagious diseases soon get passed around, so the children are sent to another place until they have recovered. 

At lunchtime I went to the school to have my lunch, taking my own plate with me as they all do.   I took photos of the ‘dinner ladies’ serving the food from big buckets - today it would be rice, beetroot sambal (cubes of beetroot in a thin gravy made with lentils and spices) and a hard-boiled egg.  Lunch is eaten under the covered area that Creaton School paid for - it is such an improvement!  Before the children sat anywhere to eat and it was very messy.  If it was raining (as it does a lot here!) then they got wet and caught fever and colds. When they have finished eating they go to the big sink at the end and rinse their plates and fingers.

Just before the children go back to their classes, one of the older children reads the news.  The papers are not delivered here until late morning and it is good for the children to hear what the news is.  The big news items here recently have been about the cyclone which has affected Chennai / Madras, interviews with the brave girl from Pakistan who is being treated at the hospital in England and President Obama being re-elected in America.

In the afternoon we were suddenly in a thick fog.  One minute you are standing in the sunshine with blue sky and the next minute you cannot see the buildings just a few metres away from you!  Why?  If you remember I said that we are high in the mountains and it is not fog, but we are inside the clouds!  For our after-school snack we had the same as yesterday, black tea and mung beans. 

On Wednesday evenings, the children split into small groups to chat to the Sisters.  We started with a prayer and then they usually discuss school, their families, any problems or worries that they might have.  They end with telling jokes or about funny things that have happened.  Last night they just wanted to ask me questions, so now they know all about me and my family, my work etc. etc.   They were interested to know that I learnt French in school and wanted to learn a few words.  So I taught them ‘thank you’ ‘hello’ and ‘how are you?‘  Today I will check that they have remembered what they learnt.  Then I went for supper with all the boys.  I sat with a boy who comes from Nepal which is right up north, above India.  His brother is also in the Boarding.  When they first arrived they could only communicate with each other, but after a year here they are fluent in Tamil.  The boy is in the middle of this photo.

For supper we had rice with pepper water (I think it was chilli water - it was very HOT!) and an egg as the children in the Boardings had not had an egg at lunchtime.


As usual I was astounded by how much rice they boys could eat - and many of them had seconds!  However, we in the UK have very concentrated meals, high protein, fat and sugar.  They do not have fat or sugar and so all of their energy has to come from carbohydrate = rice.  The food is certainly better than previous years, thanks to Blisworth and Creaton Schools and the individuals who support Kodai.  I was SO pleased to hear that they now have chicken - every other Sunday.  They have eggs regularly as well, so along with all the dried beans, peas and pulses, they have plenty of protein.  They have a little fresh vegetables now, but no fruit and my main concern is that they are still not having any dairy - so no milk, cheese, yogurt etc.   So this is one of my main aims - to get some milk for the children.  They could have some in their afternoon tea and it could be mixed with the rice for their breakfast, which would taste nicer as well.  I am really struggling with rice at breakfast time; at lunchtime and for supper it comes with other things to give it taste, but for breakfast we just have a few dried peas or chick-peas with it.  Today I will find out how much milk costs here and work out how much it would cost to give the children just 3 cupfuls a week. 

After supper the boys wanted me to take their photos.  There was much combing of hair and posing!   They asked me if I would buy them a cricket set - they do have a large grass playground to play on, so I will find out how much it will cost.


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