Thangachimadam Orphanage                                                                                                                                                                                    Supported by St Loys School since 2001.                                                                                                  To read about this project and to see lots of photographs, please   CLICK HERE

To read about Mrs Johnson's visit and to see more photographs of what she did, please  CLICK HERE

I have been given this brilliant poster to take with me, which everyone has signed.                                                                                                                                                                                                       Hello St. Loys!!!  Greetings from Thangachimadam!  It is now Sunday lunchtime and although it absolutely POURED with rain this morning, now it is sunny and bright.  I am sitting under a fan, so I am not too hot.  First photo - view from my room:-                                                                                                                                                                                                                I arrived last night and was greeted by my friend Thelma, who is in charge here.  I was given a shawl and a bouquet of roses!  There are quite a few changes here.  A new big road, almost from Madurai, so the journey is now much quicker and more comfortable.  The refectory (where we eat) has been re-furbished and is very nice.  The orphanage has been repainted, but the biggest change, which I still can't quite believe, is that they have wi-fi and broadband here!   So it looks like it might be a 'Yes please' Adam!  I will talk to the staff, find out all the details and let you know.                                                          I have a lovely room with a big bathroom.  I have a proper loo, but no loo seat.  There is a cistern to flush, but you have to fill it with water first.  I have a shower, but it is not connected to any water.   However, there is WARM water here to wash in, which I really appreciate.                                                    It is 'ant city' here - big black ones. Hundreds of them!  They do not bite and cannot climb up into my bed so I think we will get along just fine.                         To get onto the island of Rameswaram, you have to go over a HUGE bridge.  This is the view at the beginning.                                                                                                                                                                                                              This was the view when we were nearly at the middle of the bridge.  See how high we were above the fishing boats.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    The wind has just started to get stronger, so I think it will rain.  It rained whilst we were in Church this morning.  Proper 'monsoon' rain!  Yes, it's pouring again!                                                                          At 4.30, I am going to meet the children, tell them about St. Loys School and show them the poster you all signed.  Some of the older children will remember me and Mrs Johnson when we visited five years ago.  Tomorrow, I will visit the schools.  There is a new school here for children with disabilities, which I am very keen to visit.  Usually disabled children do not go to school in India.                                                                                                                                                                                                                     So . . . . . . . how many children are you helping here?  Two hundred and fifty seven!!!  Here they are:-                                                                                                                                                                                          Please meet Meethulakshmi and Mathumitha; the two youngest here.  They are in year 5.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Good afternoon!  It is 3 o'clock on Monday afternoon here, so 9.30 Monday morning in Weedon Lois. Here are some more photos for you and later I am going to try to put two short films on as well.  So . . . . . . .  there are some changes here -  the toilets have been painted pink; there is another sink and a big water container.  Your scorpion step is still in excellent condition!                                                                                                                                                                                            The original orphanage building is also now bright pink and has been extended at the front to give more covered space.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              I went to the Primary School this morning.  There are both boys and girls up to year 5 and then they go to separate schools. There are two reception classes - LKG and UKG - lower and upper kindergarten, so children start school earlier than we do in the UK.  Sometimes there are as many as eighty children in a class!  The boys sit on one side of the room and the girls on the other.  Look how different their classrooms are to yours.  The children all stand or sit on the floor.  The teacher has a desk and chair.  There is a big blackboard for her to use and blackboard all the way around the room for the children to use.  It is cheaper for them to use chalk than paper and pens.  When they are older they will use exercise books to write in.  There was a cupboard with some books in it and a couple of posters, but that was all.  Can you see the silver pot with a tumbler on top, behind the teacher?  It is full of drinking water for the children.                         This is Sr. Jancy.  She is in charge of the children and is also a teacher at the school.  So St. Loys School has worked with five Sisters - Bibiana, Charles, Jovita, Jeyathri and now Sr. Jancy!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I went to morning assembly.  First the children said prayers and some children sang a prayer song.  One girl gave a speech, but as it was in Tamil, their language, I couldn't understand it.  Next, the Indian flag was raised and the children stood to attention and sang the Indian National Anthem.  General notices were read out and the children stood to attention again and said 'The Pledge'.  A girl wrote it out in English for me.  So every Monday and Friday (Fridays' assemblies are in English,) all children in India recite these words:-                                                                                                                                                          India is my country.  All Indians are my brothers and sisters.                                                                        I love my country and I am proud of its' rich and varied heritage.                                                                  I shall always strive to be worthy of it.                                                                                                            I shall give my parents, teachers and all elders respect and treat everyone with courtesy.                         To my country and to my people I pledge my devotion.                                                                                  In their well-being and prosperity alone lies my happiness.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            At the end of assembly, about nine or ten children came to the front.  Most were dressed in beautiful clothes.  They celebrate their birthdays this week and so we all sang Happy Birthday - in English, but with slightly different words to the ones we use.  So on your birthday in India, you don't have to wear school uniform.  One girl had a lovely dress on, had flowers in her hair and was wearing lots of jewellery.  She gave sweets to all of the teachers (and hopefully to her classmates as well!)  Here she is and I've taken a close-up of her hair.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Two short film clips of the children singing / saying alphabet (in English) etc:-                                                                                                                           THANGACHIMADAM        

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