We had a “leisurely” start to the day, Christine let us lie in until 8.30! All packed up and rooms vacant and ready for another day in the beautiful Himalayas. We had one little surprise for Linda who had the unique opportunity of celebrating her birthday in Mussoorie. After a hearty rendition of “happy birthday” some of the group got ready to visit Woodstock school. A few of us had heard of this famous school before we came and the previous evening we had had the privilege of meeting and listening to Cathy Hoffman reflect on her impressions of India over the years she has taught at Woodstock, and of the ethos of the school. We were therefore delighted to take up her offer to come see around. She was particularly keen to impress on us the ongoing need for the school to find good staff and currently a drama teacher would be a huge help, so Julie felt under no pressure whatsoever!
The school is very impressive. It is a mixture of modern fir for purpose facilities within a beautiful environment spread over about 250 acres of land, and with many features relating back to the many years the school has been in existence. Cathy was very impressed with the old stone floor tiles in the library, while some of us noticed the ornate notice board in a corridor. donated by the class of ’47. The whole feel was of a comfortable relaxed atmosphere with students milling about as in any secondary school, but no uniforms. The array of sitars in one of the music rooms made a striking contrast to the drum kit being played with a heavy rock beat in another room and again a trumpet player “buzzing” prior to starting his practice.
After regrouping at the Hanifl centre, we took a whistle stop tour of the bazaar in Mussoorie. As you’d all expect, none of us struggled to spend money and I think it’s safe to say you can all look forward to some Indian goodies.
Our final destination before leaving Mussoorie was the MGVS office where we had been invited to lead the members in an informal devotional. We shared some reflections, some scripture, Maura gave an Irish blessing and we sang “amazing grace”. All this, at the top of the Tehri hills, looking out on the Doon valley, it was truly amazing. Both Christine and Linda paid tribute to the work that we had witnessed and were delighted to give them a cheque. We were all overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the staff there and we all left feeling very privileged to have spent time with them. They have such commitment and their vision is both empowering and sustainable.
Now on the train, reflecting on those beautiful mountains. What lucky girls we are! En route to Delhi, another interesting train ride, only 4 more hours to go.