Scottish Charity Number: SCO36069

28th May 2010

No More Big Macs by Kyle and Sarah

Home | Footprinter Reports | No More Big Macs by Kyle and Sarah

Sorry you havent heard from us before now, we have just managed to get an internet connection. It took us three long days to finally arrive at the school which is an absolutely fantastic place.

We first arrived in India in Kolkata, which was a major shock to the system, with stifling heat (32C at 08.00). The taxi drive to our hostel (run as part of the school) was equally shocking, there is only really one rule of the road and that is to lean on your horn and who has the louder horn has right of way!! The streets were so busy, and when we drove through busier areas people just lay in the street. It all seemed very desperate and at times heart wrenching. It was extremely moving as we know that many of the children we are heading to teach hail from these origins. A common sight was of children under 3 years old playing in the gutters completely naked while their parents tried to scratch a living either breaking stones into rubble or sorting through rubbish for anything sellable.

The most shocking thing to take away from our short stay in Kolkata would be the discovery of the news that there had been a terrible fire the previous week in a building not 200metres away in which 43 people perished. The hostel owner was surprised that we hadnt heard about it in the news, but I guess David Beckhams Achilles tendon is just much more important in the UK!!

By this stage we were very apprehensive, however we then knew that what we were going to do was extremely worthwhile.

Our arrival at the school was small and unannounced as we arrived at around 6pm and the kids (700 boarders) were all in their cottages, where we will be staying for the next chapter of our lives.

The next day we woke to an absolutely beautiful morning, the clouds hadnt yet formed and you could see across the valleys and see the sun spread across the small villages that are dotted all over the mountains. In the background, some peaks of the Himalayas are faintly visible and stand out like ancient giants standing over the sharp scenery. There was a light breeze, which brought the sounds of another busy day waking up.

We get up at around 06.30 although for the next week Kyle will be coaching the school basketball team for the inter school competition coming up, so he will be starting at 05.00.  We will both also be coaching the swimming team as well as taking English lessons for the Thai students in the school.  As the Thai students do not speak any English, this has been given to us as our own personal project which will hopefully get them interacting with the other students as currently they can only communicate through hand actions.  Luckily all of the children are extremely willing to learn as well as being some of the nicest people you could meet.  We are still gettingsettled into our new surroundings and are looking forward to all the projects we have ahead of us.

As time passes we have begun to get settled in to our new surroundings with the dramatic weather and the dramatic stomach upsets.  Kyle finally went cold turkey from fast food last week with his last hallucinations of burgers drifting away as he finally succumbed to the fact that a 12hr train journey is a bit much to reach the nearest McDonalds.  This said, we have both been very adventurous with the food here and we eat anything they put in front of us.  To say that the food is different to back home is an understatement, the way they butcher chicken for example, they simply cut it up from head to toe with a meat cleaver and cook it as it comes.  This means that all the little sharp bones make their way into your curries and stews.  At first I thought they were playing a prank on me when they all had empty plates and I had a pile of left over bones, until the cottage uncle told me that the bones are the best part and they chew them up to get the marrow, yum.

Unfortunately, the junior basketball team Kyle was coaching got put out in the semi finals of their last tournament, however, they are due a lot of credit as they lost to the tournament winners.

The swimming pool is nearing completion so it looks like we will be able to start swimming lessons very shortly, so bring on the early 05.00 starts!!

Along with the swimming and teaching we will be finding ourselves very busy over the next few months but we will try, electricity and internet permitting, to get you another update as soon as we can.

We will try and include some photos as well.

Kyle and Sarah.

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