Our first day at school :)

This morning we drove through the crazy traffic in the back of one of the CRS medical vehicles for our first day at Hastings School.  Some things have changed quite a bit since last year- you can see in the pictures that the lady who lives there has put some sheets up to give part of it a roof and she also has some cupboards for her pots and pans.  Her daughter, who was a baby last January, is now the youngest member of the school- I think she’s still only about two!  The children and Mrs Gupta were very excited to see us and they had all come to school wearing their best clothes.  There was tinsel strung between the poles at the edge of the school and balloons hanging from them.  We thought it must have been Mrs Gupta who had put them up but she said that it was a surprise for her too and that the Mums had come to decorate before any of us arrived- isn’t that lovely?  Other things haven’t changed at all.  Do you remember the little girl in the fabulous green dress from last year?  Well, Ayeesha is still in school (you can see her in a green jumper in one of these pictures) and still very cute, although she isn’t the smallest any more.  Some of the schools were closed today because the Hindu families are celebrating the goddess of learning.  Ours was open because the children are from Muslim families but they still said a prayer to the goddess at the start of the day and they sang ‘thank you for the world so sweet’ as well, so  it was a real mixture of faiths, just like the temple yesterday.  We told them the story of Little Red Riding Hood and then they ordered the pictures and used finger puppets to have a go at telling the story themselves.  Then we played a game where they had to try to draw one of the pictures from the story in groups by sending one of their group to look at it for ten seconds and then go back and draw as much as they could remember- some of them were really good!   We asked the children who looks after them and tries to keep them safe like Little Red Riding Hood’s Mum did.  They said all the same things that you would about not going with strangers and being careful crossing the road…although when your mums say it I don’t think they’re talking about roads quite like the ones around here!  We were both very tired when the day was over because we had been teaching for four hours without a break which is difficult, especially when the children don’t speak English (I think the children were tired too).  We shall be back there tomorrow and we’re going to do some reflective symmetry which should be lots of fun.  Night night xx

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Mrs Maynard’s first impressions…

Imagine this –  roads with little yellow taxis, battered buses, dilapidated cars, maniacs on motorbikes, tuk-tuks everywhere and men pulling rickshaws – all going in every direction all at the same time and honking their horns constantly!! That is the action on the streets of Kolkata – scarily fascinating! Miss Gill and I enjoy sitting in the front with ring side views.

So much colour – beautiful saris, fruits and vegetables on stalls along the roads .

Mongrel dogs lying everywhere sunbathing and chilling!

Desperate poverty on most streets – people with nothing trying to make something of their lives.

Went on the river Ganges today on a boat. We were heading for a temple which had 3 faiths – Christian, Hindu and Muslim. It was a lovely building that looked as though it had been made from clay. On the way I spotted a porpoise leaping about in the water – wow!

Really looking forward to meeting the children in Hastings school – we will send you photos tomorrow.

There’s no stopping us now!

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This was Mrs M and Miss Gill tonight with the other teachers who are coming to India.  We’ve put together the rucksacks of resources for each of our Kolkata schools so that they can teach all of the lessons we’re going to show them when we visit.  Thank you so much to everyone who has donated towards these- and those who have knitted blanket squares, they have been shared out into people’s suitcases too.  Visas are confirmed, tickets are booked, eight sleeps to go and we are soooo excited! 🙂

Blanket squares

Mrs Siddall and her team have got everyone in the parish knitting blanket squares so that we can take beautiful blankets for the Hastings children who sleep outside under the flyover.  The Mothers’ Union and Ivonbrook residents  as well as children,  parents and grandparents at school are all helping- you are stars!   Here are today’s donations and some toothbrushes,  too!15109326624451352118669.jpg