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Tiger, Tiger, Monkey

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Today is a day I have been looking forward to for a very long time – Donk Day!

We started off with breakfast on the terrace of the Mussoorie Gateway overlooking the Himalayas looking their best in the blue skies and sunshine – what a view!Surender Singh, the director of MGVS,arrived to collect us to accompany him and other MGVS staff on a visit to Donk Primary School. Along the way we caught our first view of the snow covered peaks of the higher mountains.  Donk Primary is a 90 minute trek from the nearest road – it is incredible to think that the teachers and the children have to trek the mountain paths to get to school rain, hail or shine. Donk is totally supported by Saphara funding.

We stopped at the homes of some of the schoolchildren along the way. The highlight for me was being welcomed into Kumla Devi’s home. Kumla was deserted by her husband leaving her to support two young children alone and then to make matters worse she was evicted from her home. With the help of Saphara a shell of an old house that had neither roof, windows nor doors was renovated into a two room home for Kumla and her two daughters. We presented her with a plaque featuring “An Irish Blessing” to hang on the wall of her home.Surender translated the blessing into Hindi for her – it was very touching and the blessing very applicable for someone who has to support her family by subsistence farming. Both of her daughters have been educated at Saphara funded schools and are bright young girls who have prospects for a very different future from that of their Mumthanks to the generosity of Saphara donors.

Donk has to be seen to be believed – although the two classrooms and resources are basic the view is superlative and the children eat their midday meals provided bySaphara with the most amazing backdrop. Paula set to work showing the children how to clean their teeth and then gave all of them a dental checkup while Winnie gave them all a medical checkup. Meanwhile in the other classroom Sylvia and Cheryl became schoolteachers again and organised some art and craft activities for the children. One of the memorable moments was Cheryl doing monkey impressions being chased around the circle by an adorable Indian child while playing “Tiger, Tiger, Monkey” (the Indian version of Duck, Duck, Goose)

On our way back from Donk we had to keep up with the schoolchildren as they made their way home. Yogesh, one of the junior boys, held hands with Christine.Last year part of his home had been destroyed by the floods but the Saphara2013 school teams had clubbed together and donated money to fund repairs. The steep trek back was a challenge for most of us but we soon recovered after a tasty Indian mean eaten around an outdoor fire at our hotel.

I actually find it hard to express how truly amazing being part of the Women’s 2014 is. It challenges mind, body and spirit and also fills me with a joy when I see how muchSaphara makes a difference to the lives of these Indian children.

– Flo

Posted in Women’s Team 2014
on Wednesday 9 April 2014