2007 Tigri Visit
Arrival at the Hotel
Tuesday, 23rd October
All travel arrangements went really well and we were welcomed enthusiastically at the hotel
with garlands, the traditional Indian mark on our foreheads and a fruit punch which tasted rather milky!
Aftera lunch of Domino's Pizzas (sounds very familiar except they weredefinitely curried pizzas!) we set of to buy Indian clothes at one ofthe nearby markets. This simple sounding task was endless as the girlsdeliberated over colours and styles (as usual) however it was the guyson the team who had most difficulty getting fitted, to discovereventually that the reason why the rugby player thighs didn’t fit intothe trousers was that they were trying on girls' trousers!
Firstimpressions included the sad reality of the children begging at theroadsides, the pathetic huts that were homes to so many and the noisy,crazy traffic.
Everyone is very excited about tomorrow as wehead off in the morning to meet Dr Kiran at the ASHA headquarters andthen go to TIGRI for the first time to meet the children and plan ourwork.
Text thanks to Mrs Healy.
Wednesday, 24th October
After a very filling breakfast, we set off for the Asha Polyclinic, which is ASHA’s headquarters in Delhi.Here, we got to meet Dr. Kiran and Freddie Martin. We chatted to themabout the work we plan to do and also about the incredibly busyschedule she has, traveling all around the world as an ambassador forASHA. Her passion for the people of the slums and her desire to reacheven more people was really inspiring.
Theteam from Methody then arrived and we enjoyed lunch with them, beforesetting off to Tigri slum. This was definitely the highlight of thetrip so far, and it was truly amazing to see the crowd of childrenwaiting to greet us with garlands.
Children greeting the Team in Tigri
Weheard from members of the women and children’s clubs, through Soni’shelp as an interpreter, of how the slum had changed significantly sinceAsha began their work there 17 years ago. The confidence of some of thechildren as young as twelve, as they spoke to such a large group wasamazing.
Members of the women and children’s clubs
Theenthusiasm of the children to play games with us and have theirpictures taken was very humbling. After saying our goodbyes for today,we went out for a meal before making preparation for craft sessions onFriday and organizing the work for tomorrow.
Kathryn and Flo
Thursday, 25th October
Thiswas really a jam- packed day! We set off after 9 and headed to theresource centre in the Tigri slum. Having chosen a theme of ‘Cars’ forthe children’s room along with a mural of Noah’s Ark, some of the teambegan sketching the pictures on the walls. Meanwhile Mr. Lytle and MissBassett, along with the rest of the team, taught groups of the childrensome basic English. Florencegave a rendition of ‘Head, shoulders, knees and toes’ to anenthusiastic bunch of kids (who weren’t sure exactly what she wasdoing; neither were we to be honest!)
Noah's Ark Mural
Mr.Lytle made his debut in the cricketing arena of the Tigri slum, only tobe dismissed by a young boy without troubling the scorers! The teammade great progress getting a first coat of paint on some of thepictures which are really beginning to take shape.
Meanwhile, a small group headed out into the lanes of the slum along with Soni, the programme co-ordinator for ASHA.
At the British High Commission
Fromthe centre we moved for afternoon tea to the British High Commission(the second biggest British embassy in the world) where we enjoyedcucumber sandwiches and cream scones! It was striking to see the contrast between the living conditions of the slum, and the comfort of the Embassy.
Wethen travelled to a local Indian market, Sarojini Nagar, where thegirls were measured for their sarees. The boys took a stroll throughthe stalls bartering with the Del boys of Delhi! Matthew managed to save a whopping 25 rupees (about 30p)!
We dined at the hotel where we enjoyed a good feed and all went to bed after a long and tiring but very rewarding day.
Matthew and Allen xx
Thanks to Alex from ASHA Headquarters for forwarding the photographs
Friday, 26th October
Yetanother fun filled day!! As we arrived at Tigri the welcome thechildren gave us was as warm as the first day we arrived. Work startedstraight away with some of the team taking English lessons with theslum children, others were leading craft sessions or continuing thewall murals in the resource centre. Mr. Lytle was in his elementteaching English today, the children were so bright and were excellentat picking up a new language. You might even say the kids are a bit toogood at picking up English as they have been heard using some“Ballymena lingo” ……”he’s a wile man!!”
Jo and Ryan also learnt some Hindi, although they weren’t as quick to pick it up.
The kids really enjoyed making the animal masks in the craft sessions. There are now plenty of lions, frogs and giraffes roaming the slums of Tigri.
Themurals on the resource centre’s walls are really starting to brightenthe place up. After only three days one room is almost finished. Mrs.Healy and Allen were kept busy today drawing pictures of Shrek and hisfriends in the corridors.
Inthe afternoon we were delighted to accept an invitation from the IrishEmbassy where we were warmly entertained by Mr. Pat Bourne, the DeputyAmbassador. Mr. Bourne is a keen supporter of the work of ASHA and hereminded us of how our work is making an enormous difference in thelives of so many people.
Ourevening was spent browsing the stalls of the Dilli Haat Market. Theboys once again showed an unusual interest in ladies’ fashion,allegedly looking for presents for “mums and sisters.” We enjoyed anon-spicy Chinese meal before heading back home, exhausted but eagerlylooking forward to all that we still have ahead of us.
Emma McA and Jo xxx
Saturday, 27th October
After our frustrating delay this morning with the “DelhiDel boys” we eventually got our money changed and onto the road for Tigri. The bus journey is always interesting with the unique Delhi driving! However dealing with begging children at the bus windows is difficult as their faces become more and more familiar.
The Shrek Mural Gets its Finishing Touch
As today was Saturday the clinic was closing at 1pm and so our day’s work was curtailed. Nevertheless we still made much progress on our Noah’s Arkmural and the Shrek murals in the hallway and are so pleased that thethree “Cars” murals in the Children’s room are finished already. We arereally enjoying the painting and it’s great as we are getting to knowthe children by letting them help us paint and also take lots of photos.
The Completed Cars Mural
As we had the afternoon off we thought it would be a good chance to take in some of the sights of Delhi. We saw a very different side of Delhi than what we had experienced so far. Firstly a quick drive by the India Gate and some of the other famous landmarks. Then it was off for afternoon tea in the Imperial Hotel. The contrast between the grandeur of the hotel and the slums we had just left behind was a massive culture shock. We then headed on to Connaught Placeto shop in familiar stores such as Benetton and Adidas, which sit sideby side with stalls selling cheap jewellery and “Armani” sunglasses!
Another Mural Takes Shape
It was a relief to return to the hotel for our evening meal and a chance to relax and unwind as a team. It’s hard to believe that we are half way through our time in Delhi. We are all off to bed now as we have an early start at 5.30am tomorrow to catch the train for Agra to see the Taj Mahal. Dueto our late return tomorrow night there will be no report tomorrow butwe will fill you in on all our experiences in our report on Monday.
At the Taj Mahal on Sunday
Monday, 29th October
Aftera busy day at the Taj Mahal everyone was really tired but that didn’tstop the excitement of returning to the slums. We had been invited tojoin the ASHA staff and children in a prayer meeting where we heardmany testimonies of the community health volunteers and shared inworship.
Work continues on the Noah's Ark Mural
Itwas a really busy morning between crafts, making pop-up cards, and morepainting. Dr. Kiran Martin came for a special visit which the childrenand ladies were very excited about. She took a small group of us outinto the lanes. This was the first time we really noticed the smell andwere troubled by the flies but these were soon forgotten as we werewarmly welcomed into the homes of some of the many families livingthere. Their homes consisted of no more than 2 rooms and a double bedwhich in most cases housed 7 people. The slum dwellers were so proud oftheir homes because of the transformation from shacks to brick houses.
A further scene from Shrek
Eachperson who spoke to us told of how things had changed in their slumsince ASHA started working there. They all paid great tributes to theASHA staff and in particular to Dr. Kiran. Her love and compassion forthem and their love and respect for her were so evident. We wereastounded by the confidence of the women and children involved withASHA. This was the best way to give us a true insight into life in theslums.
Another Shrek Mural takes shape
Aftera nice meal at what is now our regular Chinese we returned to the hotelto reflect together on what we have seen and done in recent days. It asthen early to bed to catch up on much-needed sleep.
Clare and Emma
Tuesday, 30th October
Todaywe set off early for Tigri for another day filled with painting andEnglish classes. The children were given the chance to write down theteam names as they practised their English with Mr. Lytle (whounfortunately had trouble with spelling Ireland.Too many years of the French Irlande no doubt.) We played some gameswith the kids and taught them classics such as ‘In and out goes thedusty bluebells’ and the ‘Hokey Cokey’. The murals are coming on sowell and the painting work will soon be finished.
Inthe afternoon, Soni took a group out into the lanes of the slums. Wefound this a very humbling experience with all the ladies very keen toshow us their houses which they have worked so hard to build and lookafter. Living conditions in the slums are very cramped with no room forsuch luxuries as a garden or space around your house to play in. Wearrived back to meet Dr. Kiran’s husband Freddie and their daughterMadhuri who had called in to see how the work was progressing.
Afterfreshening up at the hotel, we went to Pizza Hut for dinner beforerelaxing with some friendly competitions back at the hotel.
Wednesday, 31st October
Todaywe set off for the resource centre with the aim to complete most of themurals in preparation for Friday’s opening ceremony. The centre isreally beginning to come to life with the pictures of Shrek and Carsbrightening the place up.
Finished Photo Frames
Inthe morning we held a craft session for the young boys where we madefoam picture frames which had the team photo inside. All the boys wereextremely enthusiastic and looked so pleased at the end with theirfinished products which they had worked so hard on.
Craft Session in Progress
Someof the girls got to sit in with the Bal Mandal or children’s groupmeeting where the girls reported on the health of all the mothers andchildren in their lane. One girl was very excited as a baby had beenborn that morning in a home in her lane. Thevice-president of the group read the headlines from the local paper andthey discussed current affairs. Several of the children, aged 11 and12, explained very clearly to us the symptoms and treatment of somecommon diseases which are prevalent in the slums, such as TB. Themeeting closed with the girls singing their national anthem.
Afterlunch, some of our girls even got a dancing lesson, Indian style, fromthe children and this was followed by another craft session with thegirls.
We then finished up some painting and headed back to the hotel to freshen up.
Wehave had the immense privilege of sharing our day with you before ithas finished because the girls are taking so long trying on theirsarees for the first time. Hopefully they will get them on the rightway round this year, not like the last team!
One More Finished Mural
We are really looking forward to this evening as we are heading out for a meal with Doctor Kiran and some of the ASHA staff.
Allen and Matthew xxxooo
Thursday, 1st November
Afterour delightful evening out with Doctor Kiran and the team fromMethodist College we were still up early and ready to go for our finalday’s work at the centre. We spent the morning adding finishing touchesto our paintings and putting up some posters with English words so thechildren can continue learning after we leave. It was great to see thefinished product after many long, but fun filled days of work over thepast two weeks.
Wethen had time to spend with the ASHA staff that we have been workingwith in the centre. The girls had a dance session, which provedinteresting when Allen attempted to discretely join in but wasskilfully caught by Mr Lytle’s great camera work. Shortly after, MrLytle gave cricket another go after his previous feeble attempt…only toreturn with a strong feeling of déjà vu. New tactics involved actuallyhitting the ball and the regular glare at the camera.
Soni, the ASHA Co-ordinator for Tigri Slum Lends a Helping Hand
Thegirls spent time bonding with the local ladies who drew ornate hennadesigns on their hands and feet. As much as the boys tried to find thehenna pots to join in, the teachers had foreseen the inevitable and hidthem before disaster unfolded. The entire team thoroughly enjoyed themorning, spending time with the local children and ASHA workers.
Fairy Tales Mural Nears Completion
Theevening was spent in Sarojini Nagar (the local market) where we spentsome of the money raised on equipment for the resource centre. Wepurchased cricket bats, cricket balls, badminton sets, footballs, boardgames, flash cards and books to further improve their English. The teamalso had an opportunity to fine tune their bartering skills by buying afew last minute presents.
Welook forward to the final day’s closing ceremony with Doctor Kirantomorrow. Its hard to believe tomorrow will mean saying final good-byesto people we have drawn so close to in the last 10 days.
By Rachel & Stephen xxx
Friday, 2nd November
All The Team with the Asha Staff in Tigri
Wearrived at the centre for the final time with a bigger welcome thanever. The community health volunteers rushed to help the girls put ontheir sarees for the opening ceremony. The ladies took great pride inintroducing us to their customs by doing our make up and placing bindison our foreheads.
Beforelong, Dr. Kiran and her husband Freddie arrived and Mrs Healy joinedthem for the cutting of the ribbon and the official dedication of thecentre. There then followed a program of speeches, dances and songsinvolving the local ladies and children and our own team members.
Thankfullyour rendition of “I’ll Tell My Ma” was more tuneful than when wepractised it the night before. Some of us discovered hidden dancingtalents which with any luck will remain hidden for a long time to come.Both Allen and Mr Lytle are hoping that the video evidence will bedestroyed.
At the Official Dedication of the Centre
Beforeleaving we spent time and exchanged gifts with the ASHA staff. Theseare people whose lives and example have made a lasting impact on eachone of us as we have watched them serve others so selflessly. We werealso able to present a cheque to Freddie which will fund the healthcare and computer programs, Christmas party and winter blanket appealfor the next year in Tigri.
Finallythe time came for us to leave Tigri and there were many tears shed aswe said goodbye to all those who have become very special to us overthe last two weeks. We will never forget the smiling faces, theoutstretched hands and the endless “Hello, what is your name?”
It’shard to believe that tomorrow we will be heading back home. So much hashappened in these last 12 days. Thank you for all your interest andsupport while we have been away. We can assure you that the lives ofmany thousands have been changed through the help of the wholecommunity of BallymenaAcademy.We also know that our own lives have been changed in ways that we couldnever have imagined. We look forward to seeing you all soon.
Jo, Clare, Emma McA
The team members are
Clare Bamber, Rachel Heaney, Florence Kennedy, Emma Laughlin,
Emma McAllister, Allen McCluggage, Richard McKelvey, Kathryn Millar, Ryan Moffatt, Joanna Rainey, Stephen Scullion, Matthew Todd.
Miss T Bassett, Mrs. D. Healy, Mr A Lytle.
IndiaTrip October 2007
Mon 22nd Meet at Belfast City Airport for British Midland flight to London Heathrow
Tues 23rd Arrive Delhi Airport around midday local time
Hotel bus to Hotel
Visit Fab India to buy Indian clothes
Wed 24th Morning – meeting and lunch with Dr Kiran Martin at ASHA Poly Clinic
Afternoon – visit Tigri slum & children’s Resource Centre to plan work
visit Sarojini Nagar Market to order sarees
Thurs 25th Morning – preparatory painting in Tigri
Afternoon – sightseeing at India Gate, Janpath, Connaught Place etc
Fri 26th Morning – join with slum churches for prayer & worship
Afternoon – painting in Tigri, visit Irish Embassy for afternoon tea
Sat 27th Morning – painting in Tigri
Afternoon – sightseeing & shopping
Sun 28th Travel by Taj Express to Agra for guided tour of Taj Mahal & Agra Fort
Mon 29th – Thurs 1st
Work at Tigri – painting, craft & games sessions Slum & Baby Clinic visits
Fri 2nd Morning – finishing touches at Tigri
Afternoon – inauguration and party for children
Evening – farewell meal with Dr Kiran Martin
Sat 3rd Morning – packing and depart hotel for Airport
Evening pick up by parents at BelfastCityAirport
The Delhi Team 2007
Sponsored Barn Dance 2007
India Evening 2007
On Tuesday, 2nd October the Delhiteam held an Indian Evening in school. The successful event stared witha short presentation by the team in the W.H. Mol Assembly Hall followedby an Indian meal, table quiz and auction. In total, nearly £6 000 wasraised for the Delhi Children's Project. The team would like to thankall those who supported and gave so generously to this fundraising-event.
In three weeks time, the 2nd team from school will be going to India to work in the Tigri slum in Delhi with ASHA – a Christian health project supported by Tearfund.
ASHAwas started by Dr. Kiran Martin in 1988, when, as a young doctor justout of medical school, she set up a clinic under a tree near one of theslums in Delhi to try to help the people fight an outbreak of Cholera.
Now the organisation she founded works in more than thirty slums in Delhi and provides primary health care for ¼ million people.
TheTigri slum is home to 40 000 people living in cramped conditions – onaverage 300 000 slum dwellers live in an area of 1 square kilometre.
InTIGRI, the government have allowed ASHA to work from a rundown, disusedbuilding for the past 12 years and when the school became involved inthe project it was badly in need of repair. The rooms are used for bothbaby clinics and by the children of TIGRI as a Resource Centre, a placeto go after their short school day. The boys of the slum are allowed togo to school for a few hours in the morning and the girls in theafternoon. Their homes are so small that there is nowhere for them todo their homework so ASHA provides a teacher to come to the ResourceCentre to help them with their work and encourage them with theirreading.
Themoney raised 2 years ago paid for the repair of the outside walls androof of the building, fixed the faulty wiring and generator and alsotiled the floors throughout.
Whilethe 1st team were there, they painted murals in the rooms used by thechildren organised games and craft sessions, and visited some of thehomes in the TIGRI slum with ASHA staff.
Theywere also able to buy computers for the resource centre and pay forboth a computer education course for the children and fund thehealthcare of all the under fives for the past two years.
With your help, the Delhiteam hope to be able to continue this level of support, and, as thewalls and murals have suffered badly due to the extreme weatherconditions the new team will again paint the entire centre. They willalso organise craft sessions, games and other activities with thechildren.
Click here to see the Delhi Children's Project PowerPoint Presentation. What will your response be?
TheDelhi Team held a sponsored Barn Dance in the W.H. Mol Assembly Hall onThursday evening to raise money for the Delhi Children’s Project. Thedance was called by Mr. Lytle and attended by over eighty junior andmiddle school pupils, with Miss Bassett and Mrs. Healy lendinga helping hand in the wings.
Click here to see more photographs.
Photographs thanks to Dr. Donnelly and Richard McKelvey (Year 14)