We made it!

We made it!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Day 28 –Village Walk around RUHSA

After a long walk yesterday and with many of the team slowly recovering I thought I would suggest we just walk through the local community around RUHSA. It is a very rural area here with no large towns just small enclaves of houses amongst a lot of farmland. These were the walks I most enjoyed about my time here in India. I was pleased to see both Poppa and Maxy back on their feet this morning. Max was a superstar after a tough 24 hours which he just took in his stride he was back this morning eating poori’s and potato curry, what a legend. Poppa eventually succumbed to Bec’s pressure for him to take his medicine and he too has made a near full recovery, great effort boys. We all head down to breakfast at the K Paul hotel and on the menu this morning is fresh made Poori’s and ofcourse beautiful coffee. The Poori were soft and light and went down a treat, even Popsy was back on the Indian diet which is pretty big seeing he has eaten nothing but plain rice for 5 days. We take in turns watching Gus ride his scooter up and down the road, over the bumps, dodging the autos and motorbikes.

After breakfast today we head out for a village walk. Head out the gates of RUHSA and turn left and walk up the small road and over the train line. I see a few faces I remember and say hi to a few friends. We make it a couple of hundred metres up the road before hitting the train line with a goods train parked in front of us going nowhere. We stand there wondering how long it might be before the train moves on, one of those very long trains, several hundred metres in each direction to go around, like many others we just sit and wait. Our village walk is temporarily on hold. After a few comments from the kids that we have been waiting for hours, when will we ever get to go, the train moves on, actually about 7 minutes from when we arrived. If I’m honest I was actually thinking about heading back and walking later, I am also not the most patient of individuals.

We start walking along with the others who were stuck waiting with us. We walk along a newly bitumised road which meant it was not only hot from the sun but it was also hot from the road also. Temperatures now topping over 30 degrees and earlier in the morning than we are used to. We walk along a road I ventured down in 2005 and I am recalling all of the photos I took then and all of the people I met when I was here. Most of the people remember me more from my companion Frank than me but either way it is nice to revisit old friends. Gus is riding his scooter like a madman and as usual attracts a lot of attention. We stroll through houses and farms for an hour or so and with the day getting hotter decide to return to the rooms for a rest. Bec and Kate and the kids have arranged a tour of the hospital at 1.30pm which Bec is looking forward to. In 1996 the hospital was an amazing challenge for Bec and she is keen to have a look to rekindle old memories. Gus and I take an afternoon nap.

After our nap we hear that we at last are able to get online at the RUHSA library and update our blog for the last week or so. On the way down Bec and I take Gus up to the roof of the training hostel where Bec and I stayed last time in 1996. Bec and I spent so many nights up no the flat concrete roof looking up at the stars, often with our friend Frank, but always sitting debriefing our day, me out in the field and Bec in the hospital. Very special memories and I didn’t realise how touching it would be for us to be back there together. Bec then tried to update her Facebook while I took Gus up to the road for another quick scoot. A few of the local kids who we know very well by now were running a long with Gus up and down the road, he looked like he had his gang and he was leader of the pack. A monkey came by and had an interesting game of chasey with the local dogs which was fun to watch. We return home to have our wash in a bucket. The hot water service here runs out of a tap not a shower and heats about a litre of water at a time. So after a day or so we worked out that the plan was to slowly fill the bucket a litre at a time. Once the hot water has run out the light comes on the hot water service and the lights all dim as it heats the next litre. About 45 seconds later the next litre is ready and when the bucket was about half full then use the small jug supplied to have a wash. The down side is it is a bit of a handful to wash, the upside is beautiful hot water. After a few days without a wash it is amazing what a difference a wash can make. I play bucket man for Bec and all the kids, slowly filling the bucket as I go. Gus who has been scooting for hours looks black from the dust and his hair is starting to resemble dreadlocks so it is always a welcome wash for the little man.

All washed up we head take the long stroll through the RUHSA grounds and out the front to the K Paul hotel for dinner. As you can imagine Gus brings his scooter and the kids once again run up and down as Gus scoots between his two speed humps about 40 metres apart. The rest of us have an evening coffee before we sit for dinner. The hotel with its wooden table and small benches to sit at is a real experience. Paul as always stands at his bench waiting for his clientele to arrive. As we walk in Paul shoos the dogs out. Tonight the menu is chapatti and potato curry with a tomato chutney, a specialty and one of our favourites. It is amazing how a dish can be so simple, yet so delicious and filling. Subashini shares with us that her parents start work often at 4am in the morning and work through to 8pm every night 7 days a week. These guys work very hard. After dinner we arrange for Christopher to take all of the kids for a night ride on his motorbike, even Bec and Kate had a ride and all of the kids, especially Gus and Max said it was the highlight of their trip. I know how they feel, I used to enjoy my trips out with Christopher as he would take me to the markets, the tailors or wherever I needed to go.

Afterwards we all come together for a range of photos. All together and then the various groupings. I was especially proud to get a photo with Paul. I feel so humbled by this proud man, who works so incredibly hard for his family and has with his lovely wife built such a beautiful family. Paul’s brother joins us just in time for goodbyes and he is such a happy man. He comes in and hugs everyone, smile from ear to ear, so happy to see everyone, he just brings joy with him and I have never seen him not smile. He is also the spitting image of his brother Paul. We make sure we slip Paul some money for dinner, which he refuses, but we insist until he agrees to take it, they have been so generous to us for the past few days and the feeling in the air is that we are all so grateful to have had this time together, for the first time as two families coming together. As we all stroll back to our rooms Bec and I share our common feeling of gratitude to be in the presence of such a wonderful family who have provided us with a very special experience, one that we will never forget. We make a commitment to come back and visit on our next trip to India.

Tomorrow we have an early start to beat the heat as we walk from the RUHSA campus to Katpadi, about 23kms. We leave RUHSA very happy for the experience and glad we made the effort to stay here and spend some special time with Paul and his family.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Nicky for keeping us up to date with your marvellously informative blog. Love the photos too. Love Jane and Richard