Thursday, 20 December 2007


Thursday 20 Dec, I'm now just killing time in Hampi while I wait for my bus to leave at 5pm this evening. At about 11am tomorrow morning (17 hours later via bus) I will arrive at Mumbai (Bombay) Where I have just over 19 hours to kill before my flight back to London. I will figure out when I get to Mumbai what I will do......The life of being in India, feel the vibe then take action. I have not heard the best things about Mumbai so I'm thinking I will be staying close the the airport and watch the world go by in a Cafe.

My time here in Hampi has been a great chance just to unwind and reflect, certainly the place to do it.

So this will be my last posting from India unless I hit lucky in Mumbai. Thank you all for reading and taking an interest in what I have been doing out here.

Looking forward to seeing you soon.

Here's hoping this bus trip holds me in a better position than my last from Hampi... 'Loose Motions' for 17 hours on a bus that will probably stop once or twice for a 'female' toilet stop can be a little taxing to say the least.

Mum / dad might be advisable to bring an air freshener for the car journey, I will be in the same cloths as I have on today on Saturday. Pls remember my Ugg boots and a jacket, don't think my flip flops will be quite suitable when I return!

One more reflective posting to come from the UK in a week or so.


Tuesday, 18 December 2007


Well here I am back in Hampi! I decided it was cheaper to travel by land and stay in one of my favorite places for three nights in one of the better Bamboo huts....drink Mango lassi and eat till my hearts content (curry) Than fly from Chennai up to Mumbia the day before my international flight. Ok this does consist of a 20 hour train journey, which I'm pleased to say I have completed! That in itself was quite an adventure as the 2nd class sleeper seat I had booked was wait list, being 89 on the wait list held me little hope of getting on but being a white single female traveler did! Still that was to be sat for 8 hours in a PACKED unreserved carriage which should seat maybe about 80 but had at least 150 people in. Needless to say my bladder control is at it's highest! Added to the 8 hours of no movement, knee cramp and a thrist quench that would have drained a camle but for fear of loosing my hightened bladder control I withheld, I had a Muslim family pretty much sitting on my knee. I have learnt very quickly to say I am married or at least with partner,as it would not take long to be introduced to some Indian on the train that readily needed a wife (or another)

So here I am having a few days to myself before I return to the UK and after my last stint at the Orphanage. I was sad to leave, the children really did touch a soft spot and will hold such a special place in my heart. I have some great pictures to show for those that are interested and of course many stories to tell.

When I look back at this blog it only seems like yesterday when I was sat in my room one week before I was due to fly and here I am 4 days before I return. SO yes I am making the most of every minute. I would love to be able to type and tell you what changes it has made to me but I am feeling like I am still caught up in it all at the moment and it won't be until I return that I will be able to really reflect on what I have experienced since Oct. I have seen so much and as I am still keeping my wits about me for the rest of my travel up to Mumbai, I don't seem to be in the reflective frame just yet.

It has been a true experience and one I would not change for the world....

Right well I'm off up one of the mountains now to watch the sunset over Hampi, a truly magical place and incrediably breath taking, it is like being in the film set of Indiana Jones and the temple of HAMPI!!

I will write again......


Sunday, 2 December 2007


Well here I am again in Goa! This was not planned but then that goes with the whole package of this trip, where the wind blows I drift. That’s been the best way and in fact has allowed me to see much more of India than I expected. My work with the children and in the orphanages is still at the forefront of all I am doing but just not so stayed in the one place.

These next few paragraphs will take you through my Blog Journey of India over the past week….Pop the kettle on and wrap your hands around a warm cup of Chai while I take you into my world of sights, smells and sounds for the next ten minutes…..

I’ll be back in ten to take you there just waiting while you pop the kettle on…………

OK, so that may have been longer than ten but I’m working in Indian time now! What I wanted to type will have to now be short and sweet but by now you would have had at least five cups of your warming drink and been bored of waiting for me to return.

My plans have slightly changed so I need to pack my bag again as I’m heading off in a few hours for a two day beach hut retreat in Panolin before I catch the 24 hour train from Goa to Chennia again on Thursday…. This time I know what I’m in for! It does not help that I have since read the Indian rail statistics of this network being the most dangerous in the world, all put down to human error which I can well understand! Still that said it is a great journey choosing to travel second class in the sleeper carriage where you have endless people getting on from different stations offering food, chai, coffee, begging, sweeping for money and generally selling what they can to get a little bit of money to see them through the following day. You do have to be careful in what you eat or drink as a nasty little stint being playing at the moment is to drug a person and take their belongings when the lights dim and people take rest for the night, which is usually as soon as the sun sets at 6.30. At this point I am perched on top of my back pack for the journey like a hobbit with it ties to every limb of my body.

I am heading back to the orphanage I have already spent a number of weeks at, so am looking forward to seeing the 43 children again ranging from the ages of 5 to 18. I’m looking forward to seeing how they are getting on with the hand crafts I have thought them before I left (friendship bracelets, cross stitch, Christmas decorations, wood carvings, flax mats, ribbon flowers, etc) It will soon be time for us to decorate the tree at the front of the orphanage with the bright pom poms we were making, and hopefully we can find some fairy lights. One of the many loveliest sights and memories I will have of the orphanage, apart from the children was after a heavy down fall. I looked out into the dark of the night at the silhouette of the palm tree, the tree frogs were crocking in load harmony at the joy of the downfall, the sound was almost deafening. There twinkling like fairy lights in the palm tree were fire flies, little flies that back sides flicker like a florescent light as they buzz around in search of their partner. Natures in all singing all dancing Christmas tree!

Coming back to Goa has made me realise how much more “street wise” I am in the short time I have been here from when I was first sat here typing my blog. I have travelled 5 countries (as called by the locals) more states to us, which cover the South of India, Goa, Karnatake, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. I have seen so much and experienced so many things it would take forever to type. I only hope that when I get back and share my experiences with you, you will feel it in your hearts to at some point help in supporting me to support a worthy cause out here. These children are just something else!

Well when I next type I will be back in A.F.R.A, my English will then again drift into the background as my hand signals come into the forefront along with my belly as I will be fed till I have stitch again every night. Mum, please remember what I said about the Christmas dinner! A fruit salad will do……

Max and Jason a BIG thank you for the Arniwear, it has been a true life saver out here, it will come well recommended from me as an anti mosquito measure. The I-straw has come into use a few times but less that I thought as I have been sticking to bottled water.

Thank you all so much for your e mails, sorry I have not had a chance to reply in depth but you are all often in my thoughts. Here is hoping that the run up to Christmas is exciting for you, spare a thought when hanging a decoration on your tree for the homeless and orphaned children not only here in India but around the world!

Until I next type, LOL. xxx

Sunday, 25 November 2007


Well here I was thinking I would be returning a couple of stone lighter.....No Chance! Every meal consists of some sort if curry or chili based dish with rice or at least four Chapati. In a true English way I try to decline with as many pleases as possible while rubbing up stomach and extending my hand as if to say it could not possibly expand out any further! Whilst sat in front of the Head of the Orphanage (Joseph) and being served by every female member of his family they will NOT allow me to decline. Needless to say I am feeling like I am having three Christmas meals a day, that said I'm actually not finding it funny now and am going to bed on a full tummy with stitch EVERY NIGHT!! I'm also now so blocked up with rice I can't seem to get rid of any of it....."mum please note, don't go OTT at Christmas, a fruit salad will do just fine!"

I have now moved on from the Orphanage in Chennia and am hoping to return for the last two weeks. I left on Friday night with Pappa Rick, Gilly his wife (my contacts for the Orphanages in India through Mustard Seed Ministry's, they live in Goa and also have a house in Southsea) Pedro and Geniloa (a Brazilian couple who run the Orphanage in Goa) We traveled over night to a place called Vijayawada where we were a part of a village for the was quite something that can only be explained but very touching. We left there last night and traveled by train over night to another corner of India which is a little Paradise called Hampi (look it up on a search engine) It's a Cafe Del Mar type of chilled Indy place where you sit under the trees sipping on your Indian Chai while watching the local ladies in their bright colours bashing and washing cloths on the bolders in the river. It's quite something! When we arrived this morning I thought after three days I had better freshen up then took a walk to the river..... On my return I got chased by a buffalo of all things! I think I was in the way of it and something but luckily in the way of the two of us coming eye to eye with his head and horns lowered was a car! PHEW

Well I have much to see in this place so I had better emerge from this little underground cave of an Internet Cafe and take in some of the sites..... On the way here I have managed to get a man to make me some tailored Fishermans pants for less than a pound, another man to make me a tailored top for the same price and bartered for some jewels, this place is a Shoppers Paradise!

I am going on a four hour tour tomorrow where I will cross the river in a weed type raft, see the temples and generally get a feel for the place. This is a three day R&R.......what a place to have it as well! More before I leave this Hampi...

Friday, 23 November 2007


Just a quick HELLO to all! Found myself a new friend....... Heading off from Chennia tonight on an over night bus then train to a place called Hampi for a few days R&R, back to Goa from there then I may well be heading back to Chennia or stay and work in the Orphanage in Goa. When I am in Hampi I will write and tell you all. SO much to tell, need to get my story book head on! Love to you all. xxxxxx

Tuesday, 13 November 2007

CHENNAI (Madras)

Well I am here now in Tambaram (Near Chennai) After a 24 hour train journey which took me from the West to the East coast of India I was collected by Joseph who runs the Orphanage A.F.R.A (Assosiation For Rural Action) here in Tambaram with 43 Orphans. Tamal is the native language to the South of India and English is hardly spoken....JOY! So I am mostly talking to myself. The kids laugh at me and copy everything I say. They have no toys so I am now tasking them all with making Christmas decorations out of the husk of a coconut and some beads. They will do anything they can to take a peek in my cell room if only to see something slightly Western. I only wish I had brought out more things for them......The smallest of things means so much! If only a touch of the face, a hand hold or just to be sat with them while they eat their rice from steel plates with their right hand (left for ones bottom!) when sitting in rows on the floor.

Well this is just a short entry as I am off to see if there are any toys I am able to purchase for the kids while they are at school. Snap, Memory, elastics, hop scotch, hand slaps etc are all becoming a little the same now! Loving the cricket though, with a peice of fruit and a log!

Next Monday a couple from Goa, Rick and Gilly also Pedro who runs the Orphanage in Goa are coming to A.F.R.A to see the kids; Rick and Gilly support A.F.R.A through their Charity. I will head off with them for 5 days to travel then come back to the Orphanage.

Love to you all, keep the comments and e mails coming, they mean so much. Thank you.

Sorry no picture this time, the USB port is a no go by the looks of things in this village, so it may be some time.

Sunday, 4 November 2007


If only the internet gave use the five senses…… where do I start? A week ago today I arrived at Dabolim Airport (Goa) My stay has been slightly extended as I am customising myself to the Indian ways, after being put on a 6 day wait list for the train from Goa to Chennai I now leave this coming Thursday. The journey will take 24 hours in a 2nd class sleeper carriage, I have been told this is the way to experience true Indian train travel!

Since I have been here I have spent most days with the 33 children at Shalom House Orphanage, not all of the children are orphans but each with a story to tell, some so inhumane it hurts to even think of let alone type. These children have so many strengths that I can not begin to list. They have unconditional love for each other and patience that outweighs anything that I have seen, they are a true joy to be with and completely humbling. Today we took the children to a park in Panjim the capital of Goa. The heavens opened on this very hot day, we danced and laughed as we showered in the torrential downfall. On getting the ferry back to the Orphanage (37 people in a 16 seater minibus) I was holding two of the little girls no taller than 3 foot and of the age of 12 up against the side of the ferry so they could see the water. One of the girls looked at me and said “Aunty why is the water blue?” In fact the water was a dirty murky brown but as the sun shone after the rain the bright blue sky reflected on the dirty water. I loved they way she was able to look beyond to see the brightness and eliminate the dirty waters….. Seeing the world through the innocence of a child in this way is quite something!

I’ve been staying in a very remote village in Goa (Carona) there is about 20 Indian houses many of them made of cows dung. The view from the patio is over the rice fields where the locals spend the day in the heat hand ploughing the rice then straining it on the side of the dusty track while kingfishers perch on the lines above. The buffalo graze in the same fields each accompanied by at least one stork like bird perched on the buffalo’s back or by its side. It’s quite something to see and as dusk falls the bats busy the sky while the frogs entertain the ground, what is in-between just takes a little stillness and time to STOP and take in…….

It’s really quite an amazing place with sights worthy for National Geographic.

As of Friday my next six weeks will be spent living in the Orphanage in Chennai.