Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

This year I have been truly blessed to be here in India sharing my Christmas with some of the most inspirational and amazing people I have ever met. Christmas month started here on the 25th of November and it never stopped. It started small with just a few events and decorations up. But the celebrations got more and more. Me and Kyekue have been to every Christmas event in Ongole and surrounding villages. We ate our way through way to much chicken curry, fried rice and cake and we learnt entire dances as they were performed over and over again to us. In the process, we have had little sleep; we have been going to sleep at 1am and waking up to teach at 6.30/7 ish.

My Christmas this year has been crazy, stressful, tiring, annoying and emotional but more importantly it has been a Christmas that I will never forget for many reasons.

In class we were making Christmas trees (a tip from project trust) and decorating them. The children drew around their hands on green paper to make the leaves of the tree and then we made baubles and stars to decorate them. we also learnt about the three kings and we made crowns. We wrote our Christmas lists to Santa asking him to give us friendship, hope and love for Christmas (I felt this was more applicable as the kids here don’t get Christmas presents). We did a drama based on the song Rudolf the red nosed reindeer, we learnt about his struggles and how he overcome them and then we played, pin-the-nose-on-Rudolf. Over Christmas we also had an influx of children to the school. Reverend Joseph has decided the he is going to take in children from the surrounding villages that are poor. This is a really good thing to do but it means that I now had 5 extras to class 3/4 which already had 30 children and Kyekue has 14 new children in grade 1/2 some as young as 3years. This has made activities a lot harder especially gluing sequins and glitter to baubles. We also had a games day where the kids played games like musical chairs, Kabaddi and loads of other games. Me and Kyekue were allowed to join in with the older girls and it was great even if we did get a bit competitive. We then had a school Christmas event which consisted of children singing and dancing and putting on a nativity. The children that won games all received prizes, this was something that made me really emotional. All they received was a small Tupperware pot something that everyone in the UK takes for granted. But to them it was like gold. To watch their smiles and the shine in their eyes when they went up to the stage to get their gift brought tears to my eyes.

Christmas day was unlike no other. We had our friends Leah and Kirsty from Tirupati come to stay with us. At breakfast we had an ultimate feast of wada, dosa, biscuits, oatma and chutneys. It was beautiful. Then we had church. We all dressed up in our best saris, did our hair and makeup and actually looked nice for once. I wore my clip on earrings (a present from Rachael teacher). At lunch we were invited for dinner with Vikranth and Rebekah who live upstairs. They have four children: Pooja, Jopri, Jessica and Rachel. They are the kindest and most beautiful family I have ever met. For lunch we were fed like queens, we had mutton biriyani, chicken curry, vegetable burgers, rose cakes, and donuts stuff with cream and fruit. That evening we had a celebration in the school grounds. Then we had fried chicken whilst sitting around the fire.

Thank you to everyone that sent me cards and gifts this Christmas ... it means a lot to me to know that you are thinking of me.

Happy new year
On new years eve we saw in the New Year in and celebrated in style. We had a massive celebration and the power of family and the people here praying their way through to 2013 was so overwhelming. It made me miss home so much and I even shed a few tears.

Here is what I achieved in 2012. And what I am looking forward to in 2013.

~        Finished my Alevels
~        Met Kyekue
~        Went on an aeroplane for the first time
~        Raised £5100 for PT
~        Left home and flew out to India
~        Overcome my fear and swam in the sea
~        Met the American girls, who had a huge influence on my life as a Christian
~        I am friends with some amazing people on all sides of the world
~        The year I finally move out of my teenage years and turn 20
~        The year that I ride on an elephant and a camel for the first time
~        I return home from India
~        I start my college course
~        Learn to drive
~        I stay friends with the amazing people on all sides of the world.


Place for thought in the New Year.

I read something the other day that I found really inspirational. It said:

If you can’t do great things,
Do small things in a great way.