Blogs from Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, India, Asia


Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli February 23rd 2017

Roundabouts are like the Keystone cops, only a little slower, but apart from the horn blasting it all seems very good tempered. Not all the roads have a central white line, but the drivers don't seem to use them as lane demarcation anyway. Few of the motorbike riders wear helmets, and will have five on board, sometimes with the woman riding side saddle as well. It all seems a bit scary as overtaking is done whether there seems to be enough room or not, and the sides of the road deteriorate into scrub and potholes. Frank said, 'The rules of the road are, that there are no rules of the road,’ it's quite nerve wracking sitting in the front seat of the vans, but there don't seem to be many accidents. Through all of India the ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli February 21st 2017

Second week Saturday evening we were invited to a women's festival being held in the women's hall of residence on the campus. The building was lit up with strings of coloured lights, and there was a stage for the dancers. There were Bollywood style dancers, and modern dancing, and one girl who did robotic style body popping to rapturous applause. The audience tended to scream and cheer through the performances more than at the end. We were invited, fairly forcefully, up on to the stage, and it seemed churlish to refuse, so we went up there thinking we could do the twist (we are mostly that generation), but the music they played didn't lend itself to twisting so we all did our individual thing and the audience send to like it. Luckily the lights were in ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli February 18th 2017

I'm not sure that the first blog of this trip managed to get a link onto Facebook, so I'll try to do it right this time. We've been decorating the two rooms at the farming distribution centre in Thruvai and I've been doing a lot of the ceiling as I'm quite good up a ladder and I have a coverall CSI style suit which is pretty protective. Unfortunately my wrists were exposed and the lime-based whitewash burnt me a little. I had someone at the bottom of the ladder )more of a stool) as ballast, who handed me tools as required. Other jobs we've been doing is a chain gang for cement for the floor tiles (which the workman do), transferring a pile of sand and subsoil into a trough for the base for the outside ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli February 15th 2017

Aidcamps trip to Tamil Nadu. I'm doing another charity build in Tamil Nadu in southern India. For two weeks we're helping to finish off the building of a distribution and information centre in a farming area, and do some sightseeing in the final week. aidcamps is the organisation that works with charities in developing countries on building projects that benefit struggling communities. There are 17 of us volunteers; aged 39 to 82; eight of us were together on the Nepal trip in 2013. We are working with SCAD (Social Change and Development) which is a charity set up in 1985 by a priest who, when reprimanded by his bishop for spending more time in helping his parishioners than preparing his sermons, decided to leave the ministry and set up SCAD. The charity now has a wealth ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli November 29th 2014

The train from Thrissur to Chennai, via Tirunelveli is one of the busiest in India as there aren't many that go in a day. To get a bed in sleeper you need to book a month in advance, so i'm back to facing the reality of sitting in general class for 12 hours! Fuck sake, not again! I get on the train in sleeper as usual hoping I can upgrade when the Titi (conductor) comes, there's nothing available in sleeper, not even with a bribe! So I end up in A/C 2, which essentially 1st class, 700rs later and i'm in a compartment closed off with a curtain with an Indian family who're all staring at me....brilliant. Being in 1st class you'd expect top quality comfort etc, you do get a bed sheet and blanket, but ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli July 29th 2014

Just to let you know we are all back from the trek and in one piece (almost!). We are off out for the day today but hopefully will have time to update the blog this evening.... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli July 26th 2014

A quick update on what we did on the first day of trekking. We drove into the mountains in the 'party bus' which took about two hours as we had to stop at two check points. The road through the mountains was a tad terrifying, someone compared it to the end of the Italian job. Eventually we got to our stop alive and had our lunch which was as usual curry. After much deliberation we started an hour and a half trek through the mountains which led us through a tea plantation where a few of us had a go at harvesting the tea, the ladies made it look a lot easier then it was. We continued on the walk through the mountain where a few members of the group found leeches attached to their legs, ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli July 25th 2014

We're sure you're all wondering how your delightful offspring/relatives/friends/donation-pesterers are doing in India and so the staff have compiled the following report for your delectation. Collectively they've been superb all trip and been an absolute credit to you all. They've embraced the endless pit-digging with aplomb; have eaten the varied curried dishes with delight; have danced as if they haven't got 2 left feet and have embraced Indian life with open minds. As such, they've been very easy for the staff to look out for and there's a great collective spirit in the group. Whilst that's all lovely, we're sure you're more interested in how the students are doing individually, so there's a few words below on each of them. In no particular order, we'll start with Naomi. Despite injuring her knee, she has been impressing ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli July 24th 2014

Today we did more project work, on arrival we were informed that there were not many jobs and that 2 further holes had to be dug for a decorative arch inside the church! We started at 9:15, moral was low due to the 2 new holes and having to move back dirt that we hade previously dug out of the other holes. We tried to divide the group into teams so that all he jobs can be done well and everyone can have breaks but this unfortunately this didn't work as some jobs required more people that others meaning people were not having very long breaks. Eventually we got it all sorted, moral had picked up and everyone was working hard until the builders walked past with new tools that we had been requesting from the ... read more

Asia » India » Tamil Nadu » Tirunelveli July 22nd 2014

After waking up on Tuesday and getting ready for a morning on the project site we were informed that unfortunately due to a missing engineer we were unable to work, so we made the most of a chilled few hours before hitting the local swimming pool! We all had a tonne of fun messing about in the pool and lazing around on the grass, resulting in several salmon coloured students (and teachers!!!) with one of the days team leaders even donning a rather funky sunglasses tan!! We headed back home for lunch (curry, obviously) before visiting a school for children with quite severe special needs, which many of us found to be a very difficult and emotional experience. Although it was reassuring to know that there was a place that was able to help and provide ... read more

Tot: 1.412s; Tpl: 0.035s; cc: 7; qc: 78; dbt: 0.0523s; 1; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.4mb