We made it!

We made it!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Day 33 –Walk from 70km from Chennai to 55km from Chennai

This morning the kids are all back on board and we start the walk with all four of the big kids from the starting line. Bec has also been given a chance to walk which she loves as Mum has happily accepted another opportunity to have Gus to herself. The accommodation is much more conducive to Gus with plenty of room to scooter, a park and an empty pond. The pond is like a toddler’s skate park and Gus is having a great time pulling all sorts of manoeuvres as he scoots around the empty pond. This will keep him busy for hours.

The plan today is for the kids and Bec to walk 10km and call it a day, they have figured this is a good distance for them to complete. I have a quick look at the walk plan and note that before today Maggie has completed over 160kms, with two walks over 25kms, a great effort for a 9 year old. She will complete over 200km before we finish. Maggie has definitely been our ‘surprise packet’ on this walk and we are very proud of her. We weren’t sure how much walking Maggie would do and leaving it up to her she has done a fantastic effort and delivered some big numbers on this walk. Great contribution Maggie!

The walk into Chennai is a little uninspiring, walking along the main highway and very little to see and the only interaction being the waving motorists as they cruise by. Perhaps one of the things we will miss the least is the sound of horns blowing. Every single vehicle makes a point of blowing their horn as they drive past us, regardless of the traffic and regardless of how close to the road we are. Also given our uniqueness the drivers make sure to make a special effort to ensure we notice them, how could we not. The horns are a bit of a status symbol on the road and the louder the better. As we are walking with the traffic the first we see of a vehicle is that it is going past us, horn blaring, fair to say this is a major contributor to our head aches at the end of the day. It seems like the year of the Hyundai as every third truck is a car carrier with Hyundai signs on the side of the truck.

All of the kids find the 10km 2 hour walk very manageable with limited complaints today. Maxy was the first member of our walk team to cop a squat in the bushes. We have had a few number 1’s but Maxy christened the Indian style squat. Kate commented that it was the same colour as the other 500 she had seen so maxy must be eating the right food. It was only right that maxy should squat on this leg as only moments before Bec had named this stretch the Feaces Stretch as it seemed to be well adorned with all manner of land mines from all sorts of creatures. Great job Maxy!

The kids all did a great job today and Raju was there before they knew it. As per usual Ally nearly knocked down a few of us making her way to the van, although I must say she did a great job on the walk today. I ask Maggie if she would like to continue on for a while but the lure of Ally and Maxy is too great and she retires for the day. We find out the hotel is only 5-6km away from where we are and Indy decides to push through and complete the walk with Kate, Poppa and I. Bec takes the kids and returns to the hotel. The final k’s go pretty quickly and Raju had the measurement spot on. We make it back to the hotel quite early today so we all set up for a nice lunch and take advantage of the extra time we have together today. We have some butter chicken and veg curry with naan and it is beautiful. The food on our trip has been spectacular. From the dodgiest looking place to the finer restaurants the food has been consistently great and we have all eaten well. At one stage we were worried that we would return home having each put on about 10kgs. Fortunately a little illness goes a long way and as we picked up the walking the weight has steadily dropped off, phew!

There is not much to report from today so I thought I would share a section from Indy’s journal – she is a very inspiring young woman my daughter. Please enjoy a few of the pages from India Petrucco’s journal (with her blessing ofcourse).

My Big Hairy Audacious Goal for 2011 - India Petrucco
So I’m sitting in the Singapore airport with my family waiting for my connecting flight to Kochi, India and I am thinking, how the hell did I get here? How did I go from feeling sorry for the people living in poverty to walking 800km in 6 weeks across India? What brought me here? The simple answer is my Dad. He came up with the idea to walk across India to raise money for disadvantaged children and families living in India. He was also the all inspiring reason I was the first to sign up to be a part of the full time walk team, the reason why I chose to give to others as I am given to myself. Another reason is that I am simply trying to make myself deserving of the wonderful and leisurely life I have been so kindly given. Another key piece of the puzzle is my amazing mutti (mum) who gets me back on track when it all becomes too much and I have a mental breakdown. She reminds me why I do what I do and puts me back together when I am broken and need fixing. She’s my rock and Dad’s my inspiration. I need one just as much as I need the other. So back to how I’m sitting in the Singapore airport with my family waiting for my connecting flight to Kochi, as much as this is just a pointless moment out of infinity in time, it is the moment I set off for one of the biggest journeys of my life. I say ‘one of’ because judging by the conversations on our training walk, this won’t be the last (huge) adventure. This is the ‘Mooch’ signing off for now but not for long. I have 50 days of journal writing ahead of me! Gotta go catch a plane to India!

Mysore Village – Top of the ‘Best Experiences’ List Day 8 - India Petrucco
Today we went to a send off or welcome into Mysore and visited a village where some of our funds we raised are going. I raised money for 28 (and still counting) bicycles for young girls to help them get to different places safely (like school). We walked into one of the small communities in Mysore to have a welcoming ceremony and afterwards around a hundred kids walked about 8km with us. It was amazing holding hands and talking with all the kids. They only knew how to say ‘how are you?’ and ‘I am fine’ and ‘my name is’ and what is your name?’ but just having photos with them and looking into their beautiful faces was enough for me to be able to understand the double meaning and true thanks of their words. All the children kept telling me how beautiful I was yet I was almost jealous of their extraordinary faces and big eyes. I feel so lucky to have an experience like that, it was one of the best days of my life.

Blessing Ceremony – Day 10 - India Petrucco
I felt like a celebrity walking down the red carpet. ChildFund India had set up a huge hall filled with 500 people and flowers and candles everywhere. It was beautiful. There was a long red carpet going to the stage that we had to walk down as a family. The room was filled and the ceremony started. There was a prayer dance and the four girls who danced dressed in reddish, pink and orange dresses, with loads of jewels and make up, they looked extraordinary. There was a handing out of flowers and a few plays from other kids. Different people talked including the Bishop of Mysore. The best part was at the end when I got to do an impromptu speech and give out the bicycles I was raising money for. It was excellent seeing the extremely grateful look on the girls faces as I presented them with their bicycles. The press took photos of every single one and I cried because I was so happy and proud of it all.

Snake Valley – Day 13 - India Petrucco
The walk today was probably the most fun and eventful of them all. About 1km into the walk and we met a boy with his fly zipper on his pants undone. 3km in dad and poppa had their heads shaved! I was going No, No! the whole time but I am slowly getting used to the whole new hair cut after 13 years of my dad having the same haircut thing. Anyway, about 9km into the walk dad was looking for a big stick to walk with, saw a long blackish, brown one, bent down to pick it up and then, and only when is scampered at the speed of light into the bushes, did he realise it was a snake! He yelled ‘Uh Snake!’ And we all just about had a heart attack. Eibhlin yelled ‘F*&$’, mum jumped so high I thought she was levitating and poppa yelled in a very high pitched, girlish voice ‘What is it? What is it? What is it?’ It was hilarious once we knew it was gone and it hadn’t bitten dad it was all good. Had my first chocolate (Cadbury) in ages with a pineapple juice. Eibhlin gave me a leg and a foot rub and I was ‘yelling’ so much that I sounded like a yapping dog.

So another day down and we are getting closer to our final destination of Chennai. Good night for now.

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