Walkabouts and wonders

"A life not examined is a life not lived" – Socrates

Bengal or bust!

Follow the blue arrow.

Follow the blue arrow.

So, there it is. My trip to India has just taken a massive step on the journey from intention to realisation! Three months in West Bengal and Nepal, beginning in February, most of it working in a group of schools that are supported by a British charity! Today, I met with Anthony, who started the Mondo Foundation some twenty years ago and Hirsh, one of the Trustees who has special responsibility for the work in West Bengal. Both are charming, committed and articulate – our lunch-time meeting in a Nepalese restaurant by Euston served up a feast of anecdotes, character sketches of key personnel, stories of successes (and failures) and some pretty quick corrections on any of my ideas which they deemed unhelpful.

And I have to say that I really admire and am very inspired by what they are doing. It’s all about providing funds and help for specific projects that support the growth and improvement of locally run village schools in the Himalaya foothills, on both sides of the India/Nepal border. (e.g. new buildings for the schools, teacher training, work-packs for the children).

And what will I be doing? Yes, I will be doing some teaching – more on that in a later post – but most of my time will be spent on establishing an agricultural programme to provide extra, independent income for the schools and a new stream of educational opportunity for the children.  By the standards of Oxfam or Save the Children, it’s very small, but the assistance it provides to the villagers in their commitment to their children’s future is massive.

And of course, I will also get opportunities to explore and get to know the area and visit local places like Kathmandu, Darjeeling and Sikkim, as well as the cities I am likely to travel through – New Delhi, Poon and  Kolkatha over the three months I will be in India. It looks like being a very exciting time, with lots to do beforehand, the wonders of which I will blog, on the way.

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