Walkabouts and wonders

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

Mission update 3; hand-over time

Now back home, and after a few of days to get over the jet-lag, I sent off my hand-over report to my English MondoFoundation coordinator. I am pleased to say that it is all looking pretty good. Six weeks was always going to be too short a time to see any material effects (did you know that it takes at least three months to grow a carrot?) but work has properly begun on the first site and the first departures from plan have been 2/3 positive and only 1/3 unnerving…[1]. Next week, I will meet with my coordinator and successor to discuss the practical ramifications of all this, and that will be that, at least for now.

Writing the report has helped me to summarise the business side of the experience, but I am struggling to know what to say about the wider trip. The experience has certainly affected me more deeply than I had imagined, let alone articulate. Staying with Jiwan and his family and working withh them and the schools, this was less of a visit and more of a complete immersion in a very different culture and way of living. At the very least, I do find that I am able to look at my western cultural surroundings with both more value and less attachment.

It has also been one of the most uplifting and satisfying experiences of my recent years; everything about it was new for me – working with schools, working with agriculture, working abroad. And doing it in the vibrant, emergent chaos of northern India; such a contrast to the apparent quietude of my rural English village.  So, there is a lot that I shall miss – not least because I wasn’t there for the first poly-houses go up and won’t see the first crops go into the ground. I’ll get reports of course, not just from Jiwan, the project manager, but from the next Mondo ambassador who will be starting his visit in mid-May. I guess I shall just have to see whether I can get out there again.

And if you want to know more about what I was doing and who with, here are some links –

A video interview in two parts, with Mondo founder Anthony Lunch, about the work of the foundation.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k5E_iOQjEyI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A_gc22d4DAo

And links to the MondoChallenge website and its sister volunteer organisation, Vanilla – Generation.

http://mondochallengefoundation.org/

http://www.vanillaventures.co.uk/generation/

I’ll be publishing some other posts from Kalimpong and Nepal in due course, but in the meantime, here are some more pictures of the project, the schools and the team

One of the parents

One of the parents

Meeting Mala, the MCK agricultural advisor

Meeting Mala, the MCK agricultural advisor

Prayers at Pioneer school

Prayers at Pioneer school

The author at lessons...

Me at lessons…

Jiwan looking more relaxed than I'd seen him all visit.

Jiwan looking more relaxed than I’d seen him all visit.

Me (bottom left) being grilled by the three particpating headmasters.

Me (bottom left) being grilled by the three particpating headmasters.

And breaking news………

The first poly-house under construction!

The first poly-house under construction!


[1] In business as in war and life, the whole point of a plan is to help you marshal your resources and get prepared. Generally speaking, if  having got going, you think everything is going completely according to plan, you either weren’t being ambitious enough, or you are about to suffer a rude shock!

2 responses to “Mission update 3; hand-over time

  1. Anthony Lunch 26/04/2013 at 8:00 am

    Great to relive some of your experiences via these pictures and comments, in an area I have come to love for its simplicity, generosity of spirit and sheer beauty. Would love to be back there now! Anthony

  2. sharon sharp 26/04/2013 at 1:23 am

    An experience you will always remember rewardingly. I am sure you will return sooner rather than later. Amy spent some time in uganda last year teaching the locals life saving coupled with paramedic skills. She cannot wait to return………

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