Monday, 3 June 2013

you give freedom!

We have spent the last month staying at Our Home, a home for about 40 children up in the tea and ginger hills of Kerala. It's an exceedingly lovely spot; surrounded by banana and coconut trees and forest, with a mountain in the background. Green everywhere. They live there with Mummy and Achen ('father' in Malayalam, the language of Kerala) aka Avi and Chacko, and whoever else happens to be staying at the time- volunteers, friends, teachers...

We lived in a bamboo hut on the property- the property also houses a boy's and girl's home for the children- which we shared with lizards, spiders and cockroaches. It was actually quite cosy, although one night we did eat some snacks in bed and I woke up to tiny little ants biting my arms and legs....from then on all snacking was done outside the hut. We ate mostly all of our meals (which were delicious but very rice heavy) with the children, as well as a coconut or two, that the kids liberated from the forest, every few days.

As well as eating we did actually help out a bit while we were there. We spent the best part of 3 weeks taking spoken English classes at the Good Shepherd Public School, also on the property. This was very challenging but a good experience. A lot of difficulty and frustration interspersed with small moments of triumph and success...we played a lot of games and tried to get the children speaking as much English as possible, while also trying to get as many of them on our side as possible. One day I gave one of the classes a small amount of homework and I was both excited and surprised when one girl actually did it. The children who lived at Our Home were very helpful though, they were always the most well-behaved and acted as translators when we were struggling. In one class two of the boy's from Our Home took this very seriously, shouting directions and disciplining the other children in the class who acted up, which was pretty funny.

We also spent a good amount of time moving rocks from an area designated for banana and tapioca crops- fairly tedious work but good exercise.

The best part about staying there was getting to know the children- and learning their hilarious take on English:
fastly = quickly
blood is coming/my leg is paining = my leg is bleeding/hurting
come, go = come on let's go (this we heard A LOT)
simply beating = hitting
...and Will's favourite quote from the whole stay: 'you give freedom!'. The story: one afternoon some of the younger boys came running up to the hut with a backpack which they showed us had 3 baby mice or rats inside (somehow, not sure how this happened). The boys thought it was hilarious and we left them giggling and discussing what to do about the mice when we heard on of the boys- quite a smart lad and very good at chess- exclaim 'you give freedom!', at which they let the mice go and Will burst out laughing. So the kids are smart, they just don't have all the words yet to say what they want to say without sounding a little hilarious.

So we had a good time. Will played a lot of chess and soccer every night. I played hide and seek and shared my make-up and moisturisers with the girls. Will became quite good friends with a bee that was always outside our hut- it used to come and sit on his hand for some reason.

I realise this post is long (we were there a month) so just quickly, here are some other things that we think are note-worthy about our stay...

We saw a bull being slaughtered (as it's India, most of the country thinks cows are gods so it's probably the most unlikely place to see this happen) then we ate beef for the next week, morning, noon and night.
We helped open two bakeries, which entailed us dressing up in traditional Keralan clothes and handing out cake to all the Indian people standing around. I wore a sari, which is basically a skirt and top with 6 metres of extra material wrapped around you, and I am completely baffled as to why it's such a popular outfit- it's boiling and horrendously uncomfortable.
We ate a lot, like an unhealthy amount, of treats. Nearly everyday we would go to the corner shop or the bakery in the closest town and gorge on tea and coconut cookies and egg puffs and other delights. It's just so cheap! We never spent more than $2.50 and we ate heaps. Lucky it was a 40 minute return walk from Our Home or we'd probably both be battling some health issues by now...

So that was our last month. A great, very full-on and interesting experience. We left last Thursday morning, with watery eyes (me) and promises from both of us we would be back next year. Then we jumped on the bus and headed south.

No comments:

Post a Comment