Mission Accomplished

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All the school supplies and DSV flags have arrived

I’m very pleased to say that the loving cargo of school supplies sent from Denmark to Southern India has arrived. I tracked the items as they travelled across the world, and I wished that I’d been able to fly with them, or even better sail there and take weeks and weeks writing, reflecting and taking photographs. Then, for me to see my friends in Bangalore, at Shrimath Yoga School and of course all these sweetly smiling faces of the children at Arjunabettahalli School.

But the mighty DSV shipping company capably took it from my fanciful hands and expertly transported it for no charge at all, earning much global respect and admiration in the process. From the back of my car to the happy faces in the photo above it took about a week; the cargo holds many items to help with educating the children and were all donated by families at NGG International School in Denmark and  friends and family in England, Denmark and Spain.

Namaste everyone. Together we did something good!

Shipped

A small cargo of collected kindness and inspiration is now with the mighty transport company DSV, and on its way to the village school in India.

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Donated school supplies – gratefully received from families and staff at NGG International School in Denmark, also from kind friends in Spain and the UK.

If you look at my previous posts, you’ll see how I volunteered at this school back in February and fell in love with the place. The only thing that they lacked were books and school supplies, but kind students, teachers and parents at NGG International School and at Scenekunst Theatre School in Denmark rallied, and now we’ve sent lots of books, school supplies, water filters, letters and drawings and an ocean of love.

This is the last leg in this very touching and spontaneous venture. I had no idea how to send donated items to India without incurring massive shipping fees, and negotiating my way through Indian customs controls without losing the whole cargo (Sorry that your package never made it Joann Jobling). Then (drum roll) the danish transport and logistics company, DSV gallantly stepped in and is shipping the items for free. A DSV flag has been packed into the box, I hope to publish a photo on this blog of some smiling children waving it in the school yard under hot Indian skies imminently. Thank you DSV!

 

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A new book is born – succulent, dark and filled with magic. Here’s an excerpt:

Chapter Two

The sun would rise at 5 am. But an hour earlier the dispossessed were still walking the streets of Tiruvannāmalai in a trance-like state, or else as huddled sleeping forms in blankets with only the slight rise of their breath to differentiate them from corpses along the rubbish strewn street. They were the guardians of the night, with their hollowed cheekbones and occupancy of between worlds. Like deer in the morning mist, they were alert for danger and avoided eye contact with the small group of sleep-stained daylight people; whose smell of toothpaste and shampoo hinted at unimaginable luxuries. The sleep-walkers continued their eternal task of searching the dirt road for discarded opportunities and broken dreams.

The emerging tourists hadn’t felt so luxurious in the night. With a wobbling ceiling fan that gasped tepid air at circling mosquitoes, they lay swathed in DDT like hospital patients on sticky sheets. The clamour at 2 am from the restaurant below their lodgings had been extreme; as aluminium platters had been scraped, rinsed, dried and stacked with every process shouted and sung about by the boisterous kitchen staff.

Rising at 4 am, dreading to wash in tepid water from a bucket whilst squatting on some decayed concrete floor, while large cockroaches scurried away from their nocturnal feasting at the flash of the brutal neon light. But she washed rigorously and drenched the stinking room in extravagant splashes of perfumed European products, hoping to masque the inevitable odour of humanity which the sultry Southern Indian climate always leached-out with her warm breath. Tara smiled as her roommate groaned and greeted the pre-dawn with the agony of the young, as she padded back into the room and the ancient plumbing rattled and gasped and the cockroaches returned to eat her detritus. India wasted nothing.

 

Novel Idea

International Shopping

 

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Worn out teacher drawn on the worn blackboard. Now the blackboard will soon get a revamp

Good news!

After prevaricating about the ins and outs, extortionate costs and greediness of banks in making an international cash/love transfer of funds raised by children at NGG International School in Denmark, to the children at a tiny village school near Bangalore, India – a solution is found, online shopping!

I’ve just spent 2,000 Danish Kroner/20,371 Indian Rupees on a huge assortment of new books for an intended library for the little Indian school. Titles range from a selection of stories by Hans Christian Andersen, dictionaries for all the 25 students, maps of the world, encyclopedias, science books, grammar books, assorted reading books for the children (aged 4 to 12 in the same classroom) notebooks, books on animals, plants, health, food, the universe, pencils, pens, chalk and even a pot of blackboard paint to spruce up the worn one pictured above.

Books, books, books – a wonderful realization and solution from children to children across the world.

Cheers, Amazon!

 

 

Penfriend

 

Penfriend: a person with whom one becomes friendly by exchanging letter, especially someone in a foreign country whom one has never met.

That just about covers it. I’ve met all the bright-eyed little children though. And now they’ve begun to write to each other from the tiny village school near to Bangalore in India, and NGG International School in Denmark. Tomorrow, the large envelope stuffed with sixteen sweet wishes from sixteen kind children in Denmark will wing its’ way across this troubled world. Once again, the young people of the world show us adults how to make things better.

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The Shipping Forecast

20160127_094238The touching story of sending educational supplies to a village school continues, as a Danish shipping company steps gallantly up and offers transportation of items to India.

Plans are in the making to collect donations of school supplies; board games, pens, pencils, paper, old text books and sports equipment at NGG International School in Denmark (where I teach). Friends, family and colleagues are opening their hearts and sending packages to me, I’ll lovingly harvest it all and send it on it’s way to Bangalore at the end of April. If you’d like to make a donation, then contact me here.

The world becomes sweeter, smaller and our hearts beat as one.

Thank you DSV

Thank you my friends around the world!

 

The Village School

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Actions speak so much louder than words!

Two weeks ago, while I was still attending Shrimath Yoga School in Southern India, I received an elated email from my boss, the headmistress of NGG International School in Denmark. The message briefly told me how (unbeknown to me) students,  families and teachers had opened their hearts and had, in record time raised a considerable amount of money towards the little village school in India that I’d been so enamoured with on Facebook,  Instagram and Twitter. I scrolled further down my inbox and was gobsmacked to find an email from Russell Collins, of  Scenekunst Theatre School in Copenhagen – students, staff and families had also spontaneously raised a generous amount of funds for the children at the village school.
I wept with amazement, love and joy when I felt this unexpected surge of love roll east across the world; seeping through the tin roof and into the bright and eager hearts and imaginations of these sweet, but financially poor children so far away from wealthy Denmark.

These children may lack many amenities that we take for granted,  but there’s nothing pinched or hard done by about them – I only saw joy, exuberance and wonder. It was I, as a teacher who saw them through different eyes; making do with a trickle of scrap paper, worn-down stubs of pencils,  no library books to learn from, some children stigmatised because their family couldn’t afford a patched uniform and for them to drink untreated water.

I feel that every child in the world should have these basic supplies. They just never thought to ask. I looked into their bright faces, and saw the beautiful bridge that the children of NGG International School, and Scenekunst had built to them – I slept well that night.  The young people of the world had taught us messed-up adults a fundamental lesson;  that love has no borders.

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More than anything I’d like to continue the strong link that has been forged between these two very different places.

The money raised by NGG International school will be transferred as soon as I find a way that doesn’t incur high handling fees (any advice?) I will top these funds up with monies raised from teaching my yoga classes in the Frederiksberg area. Scenekunst Theatre School’s Danish Kroner is already transferred to India and is being used to purchase and install a water purifying system for the village school. Three friends, Seagull Seagull, Joann Jobling and Sally Green also sent gifts and supplies for the children’s birthdays. I promise that I will post photographs and updates when I receive them from Shrimath.

It’s a pure concept, with no heavy bureaucracy or suspicious middlemen involved. Just Krishna (Shrimath Yoga School) and myself in Denmark. Other than us, it’s just goodhearted children to children communication via letters, photographs and kindness. If adults would care to become involved, then I’d really like to start an appeal for used books, school supplies and sports equipment (tba). Also, I’d genuinely appreciate any offers for shipping used books, textbooks and school supplies out to Southern India at minimal expense. Perhaps there’s someone with space in a container from Copenhagen to Bangalore out there?

The cargo will be labelled with love🙂

 

Namaste