TRAVEL – Coimbatore – India

It was good to catch up with the orphaned children again; last time I was here was a year ago.

They were all very proud of their new, nearly finished, orphanage and were keen to help in any way they could, moving sand, brick and also singing to help the builders along.

They all seem to be doing well, some have left to either go back to a parent (some are semi orphans) and others have moved out to their own rented house after getting a job.

As always, happiness and joy fills the air and makes you realise what really matters and what you really need to make you happy. Here are a few photos of the children, staging and posing as usual.

As I write, in 2014, they are now in the new orphanage and life will be slightly more comfortable with running water, working toilets and beds!

Images below
Left -   Last time I was at the orphanage I produced a card with Prakash here he proudly holds a copy. Cards are available on the main site under shop.
2nd image down –   One of three brothers Cuberdy helps transport some cement he is the middle man, both his mother and father have died.
3rd image down -   Two of the youngest girls at the orphanage, with major bed-head! At around 7am, Cogle on the right and Diva on the left.
4th image down-   Vodiville, walks back with some of the other children from school, with his TIN TIN bag! Every day is an adventure, he suffers from heart problems, he also cannot write due to his thumbs not being connected with the rest of his hand apart from a thin bit of flesh.
5th image down-   Vodiville, its morning shower time!
6th image down-   A parting gift, some photos for the walls of the new orphanage, kindly sponsored by donations.
7th image down and below-   These last scenes are taken down town in the heart of the city, the BAZZAR

Some of the Best Indian shots

This is a section of digital colour images from my Indian Visit that almost started a year ago now.

To see some of my Black and White images click here

I spent two months working in one of India’s most basic orphanage in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu. There was no running water and at least 14 hours without power everyday, millions of flies that came during the day and when you slept buzzed though your ears, nose and mouth.

The images in this portfolio are of Indian children; most are of the orphans we lived with, showing the undiminished lives of youth, with nothing, yet a clear degree of contentment. This comes from an important lesson, life’s vital needs of friendships, food, sleep and faith in God. For them, its life without the material clutter of the Western world, basic but happy. They are the life-blood for the next vibrant generation and India’s pioneers striving to grow out of poverty.

2 Days till Christmas!

They were all sat outside the main building illuminated only by a few Christmas stars, their faces shining with happiness as they saw some visitors, it was a long way from the main road and overlooked by some local mountains. This leprousy centre cares for 40 families affected by the disease here and they have been provided houses by the government but now receive little help…only 1,000 rupees a month which is around £13. It is a good set up though as the families are able to look after their family member affected by this illness. Over half of the people were Christians and we talked about the meaning of Christmas and sang a few songs beneath a tin roof and illuminated coloured stars. We asked if there was anything they needed and they asked if it was okay if we bought them some food toward their Christmas meal which we did along with soap and oil.

It is now drawing near to Christmas and there has been much excitement in the orphanage as a kind sponsor bought clothes and presents for all the children. We have also attended a few functions, one was at a five star hotel in Coimbatore, the children took it in turns to dance, sing and be entertained by the hotel and we treated to a luxurious meal of chicken biryiani and ice-cream. Tomorrow all the children have leave and we are hiring a bus to take them all out to a famous place in the city for a nice meal, this is to be followed to a trip the park or swimming pool, yet to be decided. It will be a typically Indian last minute decision!

The children’s faces were in great fear as the stairs moved towards the sky in the shopping Centre, they had never seen moving stairs and it was one great leap for an Indian child to board this magic staircase. We had to give some of the 7 orphans we took on this trip a friendly nudge onto the escalator, it took a little while before they realized that the steps appeared too as they walked into the steps to start with by the fifth floor they were pros! It was very funny to witness their first escalator experience! KFC was the next stop and lastly dodgems which proved hilarious so with shining faces they returned sleepy and satisfied. We also went to bed happy after a successful mini trip with 7 of the orphans.

A trip to the zoo

The bus speeds along the dust road towards the orphanage building leaving a dust cloud behind it. All the children with beaming faces run to get the best seat next to the diver which ends up not just being one seat but 5 seats as they squish into the front. This was a small trip we organized for 30 of the smaller children many of the older children have exams at this time of year so on the 15th we took them to the local zoo, gardens and park. Ice cream was also a highlight of the day, but for one boy who ate his ice cream and then went round on the roundabout so fast that his stomach must have been still rotating when the ice cream reappeared over the fence!

We also had a day trip to the most southern point of India this past week we took the eldest orphan with us who is 19, he had never seen the sea before so it was amazing to see him experience his first sight of the ocean. Where we were in Kanyakamuri the Indian Ocean, Arabic Ocean and Bay of Bengal all meet so it’s not a bad spot to see your first bit of sea! We then went to take a ferry ride to some historic temple…it’s always a bit disconcerting when you board a ferry and have to wear your life jacket ‘just in case’!

Work on the orphanage is progressing well the beams now connecting the pillars are now built and the store building is completed. Each pillar is now being added to with more metal. Most of the expenses are being supported by generous people from the West. Some of the materials has also been kindly sponsored by local companies who wish to help with the construction.

As it is the lead up to Christmas if the children have any families then they are visiting them now. We met one child’s mother while she was working in a supermarket and we had to promise to bring her 2 daughters next time. We obtained permission and took her two daughters, when she saw us she left the checkout and bought enough biscuits to fill a whale for them to take back. She spent some time with them and as we left there were tear streaming down her face, this lady has to work 6 days a week from 9am to 9pm to live in a women hostel and cant support her children.

One recent event was some carol singers, they had contacted the orphanage to say that they would arrive at 10am to sing to the children, finally at 1am in the morning they arrive all the children forced themselves awake to get only a few carols and a prayer before they made an exit. I sometimes wonder how the children are so awake/can function as many of the older ones study until the early hours of the morning before getting up at 5 or 6am. 3 hours sleep per night seems to be the price you pay in India for a good education and an escape from poverty.

These photos were taken at a school we recently went to.