working for Children Walking Tall (.com) children's drop in centre

Goa Travel Blog

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sunset at our beach

hello from India!
we made it here just about ok, had a day in mumbai and then it was 16 hours stuffed in a sleeper bus with me, carl, all our bags and the malaysian blow pipe! the charity is wonderful, really well run with lovely people and the children are adorable. most of them are under 10, the youngest is just called "baby". I teach a class, none of whom speak any English but we're getting there. My hindi so far consists of sit down and be quiet! we're having lessons though, so hopefully it will improve.
we have a 2 bedroomed flat on the beach, which is stunning. we got a moped to go to work, which I managed to write off on my trial run so carl now does all the driving! we have also been extras in a bollywood film to pay for the repairs. carl sported a marvellous goatee for one part! we're definately settling in now though so we're going to start exploring the area a bit.

sargen and kajal...both cheeky monkeys!!
Its very indian, but very laid back, lots of catholicism and a manjana attitude.  Shopping in the fruit market is always an experience!
look up the charity on if you fancy seeing what we're up to. we tend to teach and wash the children in the morning then its playtime in the afternoon. they all come from two slums and when they're not at the house they're usually working as rag pickers. 
Having a fantastic time though, enjoying the sunshine as ever and I'll let you know when our film debut is released!


May 26th

And so it beings. It rained for the first time 2 nights ago, so deafiningly that we couldnt sleep and last night it thundered like I have never heard before. Its meant to be an early monsoon this year (just our luck) and the storms will get closer together until it just rains all day.

mebu and her mango (her parents just shaved all her hair off so now she's bald mebu)
The children sleep on mud floors in their slums so they come in smelling like wet dog, some of them have to be washed straight away as they smell too bad to wait the hour until bath time.  we walked them back to the slum a few night ago and were stopped by a man who thought we were teaching christianity. he deemed it suitable to call the police, then I got chased by a pack of wild dogs from the slum and we had to get a boy tested for malaria (all in one day!). The children keep bringing their baby brothers and sisters so I seem to spend all my time looking after the babies...its a bit of calm from the constant `hello me, hello me` from the older children.

Struggling to teach them the alphabet at the moment...they can all spell orange but not their own names.

carl and baby's nap time
hummm. trying to get them to remember my name is tricky...its always hello carl, hello kym, hello sue, hello....? one big blank. I just keep teaching the alphabet by doing my name over and over again :-)

We going to northern goa this weekend to a lake with medicinal mud (no doubt we will end up looking like creatures from the deep) and then next weekend we're going to travel to see the ancient ruins at Hampi, which are meant to be stunning. 

3rd june

The mud was fun! we both got covered in yellow, gritty mud and stood there being laughed at by the locals but our skin was nice and soft after! its the usual routine at the house - children peeing all over the place and giggling lots.

monsoon = macs. sagar holding kieran
they may all be going to proper school next week which is exciting and I'm hoping to sponsor two of them to go by buying their books and clothes. someone bashed into our scooter on sunday and carl got a dislocated shoulder. the same day I fell down the stairs and had to have three stitches in my elbow...the hospital couldnt believe we were back again! we're fine though and looking forward for a few days away in Hampi tomorrow.

12th june

Hampi was fantastic! 26 square miles of beautiful ruins which we explored with a brilliant guide (who told us it was all destroyed by the Muslim kings at least every 10 minutes). Our transport was an old white Austin Cambridge...well, you have to do things in style! We played the stone pillars which when you tap them play different notes, even though they are solid rock pillars, amazing.

sangi (who mostly lives at the house with her brothers kieran and kumar)
We also flated down the river in a boat that looked far ore like a giant fruit basket and we blessed by the temple's holy elephant...just like having a large sweaty thing on your head! A fabulous day though and well worth the day train journey each way!

We started back at work on wednesday only to be hugged as we went through the door as it had been so manic without us! We had managed to get 15 of them into proper school which took a lot of work and was a real breakthrough. It was so good to see them with their school bags and hair all neat in the afternoon. We've just got to keep making them go now! All the children had really bad fevers and the Mango House was more like a hospital than a school. We battled on though and on friday my class made it as far as writing `The banana is long and yellow` and saying `can you take my photo please` as opposed to `me photo, me photo`, brilliant!

We went out to see the World Cup and had a meal with our friend from Manipur (an Indian state the other side of Bangladesh) when he got a call saying his girlfriend, another volunteer had to go to hospital as she was feeling so ill.

little geeta
we spent most of the night there and Carl went to do John's jobs at the house on sunday. 2 other volunteers Sue and Liz are ill too, as well as Rob who runs the centre and Sangita who works there. With all the kids caughing and spluttering it doesn't feel too heathly. Carl and I are fine though and we managed to keep everything running ok today (monday) despite it being only really the 2 of us! Kirsty the paramedic who works at the centre thinks its either the flu, or it could be typhus fever, a strain of typhoid which is caught from infected lice, which we found in all the girls hair on friday (its a constant battle against them and we hide lice stuff in all the shampoos). I also managed to catch nits and spent the weekend with gunk in my hair and a nit comb in my hand.
me and the mud

I cant believe its our last week here though as we leave for Delhi next tuesday. I really dont want to leave all the children, especially seeing as they have now fnally grasped how to say my name!

jethanad says:
amazing - thank you for sharing
Posted on: Feb 26, 2010
shonti says:
Hey your experiances sound amazing! I'm off there this year in september.
Just out of curiosity- was your 16 hour trip from mumbai the quickest route?
Posted on: Jan 09, 2010
James says:
Hi Rach,
Sounds incredible. You'll never forget these experiences. Hope you have a great time in Delhi,
James xx
Posted on: Jun 15, 2006
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sunset at our beach
sunset at our beach
sargen and kajal...both cheeky mon…
sargen and kajal...both cheeky mo…
mebu and her mango (her parents ju…
mebu and her mango (her parents j…
carl and babys nap time
carl and baby's nap time
monsoon = macs.  sagar holding kie…
monsoon = macs. sagar holding ki…
sangi (who mostly lives at the hou…
sangi (who mostly lives at the ho…
little geeta
little geeta
me and the mud
me and the mud
photo by: chiyeh