3rd August 2014
The final week of Phase 1 in Kottadai has been a busy and eventful one for India Romeo 9. We are pleased to have successfully completed conduction of household surveys and the Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA). In addition, this phase we have enjoyed holding a school sports day, education sessions on hand washing and oral hygiene and trice weekly English language lessons. A walk-to-school bus and Tooth Brush Club for village children and Women’s Night have become routine part of village life for the villagers and volunteers alike.
The 30th July marked National Friendship Day which we celebrated using Rangoli powder as is typical of the Indian Holi Festival. Lots of colourful fun and friendship was lavished between volunteers, team leaders and village children. Indeed one especially friendly villager Surindar, of whom we are all especially fond, was chased through the surrounding fields in a successful bid to cover him in Rangoli powder. Village children enjoyed helping us to create pretty ‘Happy Friendship Day’ messages on the ground (though they did temporarily break from this to attend the oh-so-important evening toothbrush club!) and we finished the day by making and sharing friendship day bracelets. This week has also seen a timely strengthening of friendship between UK and Indian volunteers since earlier difficulties were resolved with a chicken-night last week. There is a real sense of unity and satisfaction among all volunteers as we come to the end of Phase 1.
This busy week has however been tinged with sadness as we had to temporarily say good-bye to our UK Team Leader Portia who lost her Grandmother this week. We all miss Portia greatly and wish her and her family our sincere sympathies at this difficult time. Portia – take care and we look forward to welcoming you back to IR9 life in Kottadai.
We are now busy preparing for the Mid-Phase-Review back at field-base where we look forward to being reunited with all other volunteers and sharing stories and catching up before returning to Kottadai for Phase 2 of the project. Phase 2 will take a construction focus; today we commenced construction work by digging the foundations for a washroom for village women. We enjoyed the active nature of the work and are excited by the prospect of more such work over the coming weeks.