You all know how crazy I am.

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Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 23rd 2014

We have a rental space! Anusha's family have agreed to rent us a room they own at only 1200 rupees per month (about AUD$24). This is a fantastic achievement given that the rent in the village is usually over 2000 rupees per month. For two months we will occupy a smaller room on the top floor of their house, until the current tenant of the larger room moves out. The larger room is a separate dwelling on their property, with an attached bathroom. We are all thrilled about this. On the facilitator front, we have one great candidate named Apoorva. She is about to start her Masters in Science, and has a fantastic grasp on English. Her father is also very supportive, we just hope she will be able to fit Pod into her busy schedule! ... read more

Asia January 21st 2014

I have mentioned our Impact project briefly so far in these posts, but it is about time I did a post dedicated to it. The major part of my team’s stay here in India has been dedicated to our specific Impact Project- to set up a new Plus Pod in a village, from scratch. We started in Chikkajala, which is on the main road between the airport and Bangalore city. Unfortunately we encountered a great deal of resistance here. Few parents were interested in the program, or were simply unable to pay the fees. Also, due to the proximity to the main road, we were unable to find a room to rent even close to our budgeted price. After four days of making little progress and gaining no local support- it was time to make a ... read more
Always time to pet the puppy!
Promo session at the government school
Getting expressions of interest

Asia » India » Kerala » Munnar January 21st 2014

We have had the last few days (Friday to Monday) off for a long weekend. Tracey and I decided to fly down to Kerala, the state south of Karnataka where Bangalore is located. Parts of Kerala have been described as god’s country, and I can most certainly see where that comes from. Deciding to stay up in the mountains, amongst the tea and spice plantations was a great ideas. It is about 120km east of the coat, a 3 hour drive given the state of the roads. It is absolutely stunning up here! So quiet and peaceful. Yesterday we visited Chinnar Wildlife Sanctuary (about 60km, or a 2.5 hour drive from where we are staying), and went for a two hour trek with a local guide. We saw a bison, some deer, and two elephants! I ... read more
Tea plantations
More tea plantations
Tea factory

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 15th 2014

Bella is doing well at the Voice of Stray Dogs. He is anaemic, but is responding to treatment. Once again, if you want to follow his progress yourself, you can go to and type in my email I will keep you all posted though on his progress. Think about liking their Facebook page for updates on their other rescues and research at read more

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 14th 2014

India is filled with stray dogs. I was prepared for that. But then I met Bella. Bella was lying by the main road in our village, helpless and sick. He was severely malnourished, barely able to walk, and totally unloved. You could see his ribs ripple under his skin every time he breathed. And nobody seemed to care. Everyone here would walk straight over him. I have been trying to feed him milk and soft biscuits this past week, but he remained extremely weak and unresponsive. He made my heart break. So last night I got in contact with Rakesh, the founder of Voice of Stray Dogs ( Check out their website! They are a not-for-profit organisation that rescues and gives medical treatment to stray dogs, and helps rehabilitate them. They have animal ambulances, and qualified ... read more
Where I picked Bella up
Can you see the beauty?
Making Bella feel safe

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 12th 2014

I am loving my time at the 40K plus pod here in Maralakunte. As many of you know, I have had trouble interacting with children in the past. I am loving it here though. The kids are lovely, enthusiastic and well behaved. Pod time consists of the welcome song, and 2 sessions of 15 minutes on the tablets. These are broken up with "Brain Breaks" where we play games, such as Bullrush, Stuck in the Mud, Bang and Simon Says. Finally there is a 15 minute session of spoken English, where we generally break up into smaller groups to help the kids with conversational English. 40K is in the process of upgrading its curriculum and delivery method, changing it into a fully interactive app, which is very exciting! Once again, please consider donating to 40K, to ... read more
Tablet time
Using flashcards
More tablet time

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 12th 2014

One of our catch-phrases here is "TII" to stand for "This is India." We just had a TII moment... We were in Bangalore city for the weekend, and had to head home this evening. We found a lovely auto-rickshaw driver who would give us the meter fare, and was even willing to drive us ALL the way home! Usually this trip requires you to change rickshaw's twice, to put this into perspective. He was even willing to wait for us to finish dinner before driving us the final leg home. Top Bloke. Except....there was one small problem... His headlight was broken. Like kaput. Out. Gone. Oops. Rural India. Rough roads. Speed bumps. Darkness. Thankfully I had my teeny tiny torch on me (It's smaller than my pinky and puts out about 10 lumes). So for most ... read more

Asia » India » Karnataka » Bangalore January 7th 2014

We have arrived in Maralakunte, where we will be staying for the next month! India I have seen a massive juxtaposition between the wealthy and the poor here. We have walked through a village past a dog dying of starvation (I wanted to cry), and soon after passed a house with solar heating on the roof and a car out the front. In the city you occasionally pass the luxury car in your auto-rickshaw, for which you are paying 20cents per 1km! Maralakunte The village is larger than I expected, and has a brand new temple, which only opened recently. This means that they have celebrations every night for the following month, with blaring prayer music, gong-banging and incense burning! Lots of fun, unless you want to go to bed early, what with the ... read more
My Sari
This is India!!!!
Outside the Plus Pod

Asia » India » Karnataka January 3rd 2014

After 18 hours on a plane, a stopover in Frankfurt and much fitful non-sleeping, I have arrived in India! We landed at the ungodly hour of 2:30am, so truth be told, I'm a little bit like a walking zombie today! I have made my first foray into the city to purchase some much needed coffee (a surprisingly acceptable latte) and Indian styled clothing. I now have a beautiful sari (whose blouse is being tailored today, so I can't show you it just yet) and a traditional "salwar kameez" (the long tunic, trousers and scarf). I somehow feel like I paid more than I should have for these... but what the hell, being ripped off once or twice is part of the fun isn't it? I'll check in soon, when I have some pics to post. Also- ... read more

North America » United States » Washington » Edmonds December 25th 2013

I recently fulfilled a childhood dream- making a Build-a-Bear. For those who don't know what this is, you participate in the whole process of making your soft toy bear. First you choose you bear's colour and shape, and then a red heart to place inside. This heart you fill with all the qualities you want your bear to have (happiness, kindness and caring in my case). You then choose a sound you may like your bear to make ("Girl's just want to have fun" being my obvious choice, though there is a wide selection of One Direction songs!). Following that you participate in stuffing you bear with softness, and placing its heart inside. After this exhilarating task, you can brush your bear's fur, and then dress it to your liking. In keeping with the Christmas spirit, ... read more

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