My second day in Chennai will be spent in a very different way. I was a trip leader for a group of 10 students going to a Disabled Children’s Home (Andra Mahila Sabha). I was originally scheduled to be on a different service visit – one that may have been ‘easier’ but a trip leader was needed so I signed up. Now I was a little bit nervous about how this trip would be, what conditions I would encounter, how would I feel, how would the students and I both react to what we saw. Well I must start by saying that though the standards of the home would in no way meet American standards the accommodations were pretty good and what I noticed the most was that every one we came in contact with seemed extremely happy, well looked after and in a very positive space.
This is the physical therapy room:
We started out our day by getting a tour of the facilities and learned that it was part of a larger complex that included other medical facilities. We first saw where the disabled adults and older students were taught and learned about how to be self sufficient and also learn a trade. We met students who were learning to sew, use a printing press and making paper cups. They were very excited to show us what they had created and the work that they were doing. We then got a tour of the children’s facility – there are about 80 children that attend this school and all but maybe 10 live there. The children are mostly from the villages outside of Chennai and the ones who live close by are not allowed to live at the facility. After our tour we were put to work; painting murals inside. We thought it was exciting that there were murals from past Semester at Sea voyages throughout the facility and it really was so wonderful to see the continual mark that this program makes on this home.
These are a group of young hearing impaired children:
The children were very eager to have their picture taken and we could have not played anything with them and just took pictures all day and they would have been content.
I brought stickers from home that were a huge success. This guy always wanted his photo taken:
Here are a couple of shots with some of our students:
Here is the women I was speaking with, it is a shame she did not smile for this picture because she did have a lovely smile:
Here is the front of the home:
Here is our group along with the director of the home:
After the students from the home left I went into embarkation mode and assisted counting to make sure we had the correct number of people sailing with us. Unfortunately 2 students did not make it to the ship on time but we were able to get in touch with their families and they were safe and will meet up with us in Cochin. This definately created a very stressful situation for a few hours until they were located but the evening ended up well.