Monday 21 - Tuesday 22 January 2013
Can’t believe that we have been in India for almost three weeks now! Time is flying and we have been so lucky to see and do all of these amazing things.
Our last day in Belur is spent at two rotary meetings and visits to two temples and a school. It is great to go along to the informal rotary meetings as you get a chance to learn about the people, the club and the projects they support. Many of them are school or healthcare projects as their government does not fund these in the way that our Government does. Belur temple is very beautiful and inside, they perform a special type of worship for us, presenting Angie with a massive garland of flowers. Onwards to Mudigere where we attend the second meeting and visit a Rotaract club at the school across the road. The kids in the club are great at public speaking and they are very dedicated to the club. There is no doubt that it has also helped to build their confidence. The younger kids at the school are delighted to see us and Emily and Nicola are mobbed!
Angie and Emily are staying with a family who own a coffee estate and have built up an empire of coffee shops called Cafe Coffee Day. Everywhere you look here, you see a Cafe Coffee Day, it is as big as Costa or Starbucks in the UK. Emily and Angie will be able to explain more about it but their host wants to show us some of the projects they fund. These include a school and a vocational training centre where they teach poorer people English and hospitality skills before giving them a job in their chain. The kids here seem genuinely grateful for the opportunity to better themselves. We also visit a meditation centre funded by the family and also the Cafe Coffee Day research centre. They won’t want us to write too much about their research but it all looks great and I’m pretty sure that in the very near future, we could see Cafe Coffee Day on the British high street. I’m going to look them up when I get home and read more about their CSR across wider India.
Tonight is a party, hosted by my family Rajendra and Janhavi. I can’t wait to
Party at our house
We don't want to leave our host family
have everybody round for drinks and food. I want to show the other girls the fantastic home which me and Nicola have been welcomed into. All of the host families and other members of the Rotary club join us for some refreshments and an amazing spread of food. I’m really sad to say goodbye to Rajendar and Janhavi in the morning. We have had a fantastic time and been treated so well, considering they got landed with two of us instead of one. Janhavi has given us some beautiful gifts, including some coffee which was made on their very own estate. With sad faces, we leave Belur for Shimogga. But we can never stay sad for too long as moving onto our next place is always exciting. This will be our sixth set of hosts and we are welcomed with garlands, flowers and tender coconut.
I am staying with Jagganadh and Vidya and their 21 month old grandson Yashas. Jagganadh owns a petrol station with his brothers and Vidya is a homemaker and full time grandmother. Their daughter and son in law are doctors living in the UK and they come home to visit Yashas when they can. He
He likes English nursery rhymes!
speaks to them on the phone all the time and I even have a chat with his mum when she calls from Nottingham. They take me out to a local Country Club where Yashas likes to play in the park and we also visit their local temple. I have quite a deep and meaningful conversation with Vidya when she asks me about religion and life in the UK. She comes up with quite a few things that make me have a little think about my life and my beliefs. This is a genuinely lovely family and I’m sure that I can learn a thing or two from them while I’m here in Shimogga.
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