Monday, 20 February 2017

Belgaum: "It's a long and winding road" Sarsi

Today we started out at 7:30 a.m. And because we were so early there was very little traffic. It must be the ideal time to learn how to drive because within 1 km of our hotel, we came across 3 driving school vehicles training new drivers. If they only knew what they were in for!

On the hottest day yet at 37 degrees Celsius, we travelled the 2 hour drive on a long and winding road filled with monkeys and trees marked with red and white stripes and bamboo trees galore. We were even lucky enough to stop and take some pictures of the cashew trees. 

Not knowing who was more excited - the children, the parents or the Rotarians - we arrived at this first time distribution site and were greeted with sandalwood leis. Awaiting us were 200 students and their parents from 20 schools with about 10 children per school all travelling 25-35 km to the site which was at the home club of the Rotary Club of Sarsi. 

This club with 100 members had 25-35 volunteers here today including Rotary members and members of the Inner wheel. They were so eager to please the SCAW team - this being their first experience. They did an excellent job and were all set up by the time we got there. They even had a bedkit set up for us. That was a first!

70 per cent of today's children came from a single parent home and they were treated like royalty all through the process ending in a delicious meal for them and their parents - also sponsored by The Rotary Club of Sirsi. 

With 4800 happy children under our belts we look forward to the final 200 tomorrow. 


Team Belgaum 2017
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Belgaum: Hubli

Today was a great day in Hubli.  Everything went well, after some modifications were made upon inspection.  The parents were directly at the exit and it was wonderful to see their excited anticipation, as they awaited the arrival of their children.  Some of the pictures demonstrate the hard work of the local Rotarians as they assisted in the distribution.

Here is a picture of a classroom at the site that is used: it definitely looks as small as you think it looks.  Unbelievably, it hosts 30 children on a daily basis.  School runs from 10-5.  There is a chalkboard and a smart board.  No other pictures of books to be seen.  There is a computer lab in the building but it was under lock and key, so we didn't have a chance to see it.

Another great day, communicating with children and adults.  Their warmth, appreciation and generosity of spirit is wonderful to experience.

Team Belgaum 2017
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Saturday, 18 February 2017

Belgaum: Bailhongal

Today we moved hotels to Hubli, stopping on the way to distribute 400 bedkits in Bailhongal. This time we were helped by several dozen National Cadet Corps girls and boys. The children as always were poor, polite, appreciative, and cheerful. 

The children had traveled as much as 100 km. in school buses paid for by the Rotarians, who also provided them with a meal. Before the distribution the children spent 15 minutes meditating.

After the distribution we again had the opportunity to visit the home of a bedkit recipient. Again it was small and sparse and again the family were gracious hosts.

Today one of the Rotarians laughingly told us that you had to change languages every 12 km. in India. We have learned to say smile in at least three languages. Pictures are worth a thousand words.

Team Belgaum 2017
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Friday, 17 February 2017

Belgaum: Our Biggest Day!

Today was our shortest drive and our biggest distribution. Today we gave out 1000 bedkits in the city of Belgaum.  As always the children were eager to see us and  happy to play bubbles and catch with us. They tried to say "Canada" and were keen to shake hands and try to talk to us and as always virtually all of them volunteered a sincere thank you.

It may appear from the formal photographs that these children don't smile a lot  and are not as happy as we report them to be.They and their parents smile and laugh  most of the time, until faced with a camera. Sometimes our best pictures are after the children have the bedkit and are on their way home. Then they seem more relaxed and willing to show their enthusiasm. It is a stressful day for them

After the distribution and lunch with the hard working Rotarians we visited an Inner Wheel Craft Shop that provides an opportunity for rural woman to sell their handicrafts.  The workmanship was very impressive.

Tonight we are attending a Rotary meeting that is open to all the families.
Tomorrow we are back to a long drive and a change in location.

Team Belgaum 2017
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Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Belgaum: Gokak

Today was a fabulous day of learning and experience.  We began the day with having breakfast at one of the Belgaum Rotarians home where we learned many interesting facts about life in India.  Afterward we were shown how the bedkits are assembled in the location used for the Belgaum site and Ekal at Joyada.  1000 kits and 700 kits respectively.

The trip to Gokak was eventful with a visit to a waterfall along the way and passing a gypsy group moving from one site to another.

The Gokak distribution of 300 kits went smoothly.  These were distributed to 20 kids from different schools and instead of parents being there, the teachers were in charge of the kids and transportation was provided home as a group.

Another wonderful day to experience India!

Team Bulgaum 2017
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