Following several now–expected delays along India’s overcrowded northern rail line, it was fantastic to be greeted at the station in Dehradun by a wonderful friend of Saphara, Surender Singh. Having felt the full force of India’s chaotic transport network on Sunday, I will begin my blog with Monday.
On Monday morning I met with the staff of MGVS (the sister charity of Saphara who assist with several projects on the ground). It was fascinating to learn of all the amazing work these great people undertake. Over the next few days I will be heading deep into the mountains with this team to see the variety of work first–hand. After I got an insight into the work of MGVS, Surender and I made the trek to Donk to visit the primary school which Saphara has saved from closure. It was great to see the kids learning rather than undertaking manual labour, and enjoying their Saphara–sponsored meals. A local lady cooked me a beautiful Indian meal, before we met two girls, both of whom were graduates of Donk Primary School and then Kaplani High School, and who are now part of the Graduate programme. It was wonderful to see how a world of opportunities has been opened for these diligent girls on the back of a Saphara–funded education. We stopped with Yogesh, a young boy who is experiencing breathlessness and whose parents cannot afford to take him to hospital, and arranged for his visit to hospital to be facilitated tomorrow. Our last stop was with Kumla, who welcomed me into the home that Saphara built for her and her three girls. I was made feel very welcome and we talked about the possibility of helping them towards getting a toilet installed as the family currently use the forest. With no electricity due to a fallen tree nearby, I have the candles at the ready for the night ahead. I write this from the home of one of the MGVS staff who has welcomed me with open arms and is preparing a beautiful meal for me. As I watch the sunset over the clear Himalayan mountain range, with the tranquility only broken occasionally by the bell of a cow in the distant hills, or laughing children or music in nearby homes, the words “Where else would you rather be?” spring to mind. However, in the back of my mind I am aware that a shower consisting of a bucket of cold water over my head is only minutes away. It’s so great to be back in India!
With the children at Donk Primary SchoolPosted in Paul’s blog
on Monday 27 October 2014