Today is the Sunday 11th Aug, should probably note the date every now and then.
So I´m writing this from Raquel´s laptop, what a luxury, and what a day we´ve had. Our first look at our surroundings as we arrived in pitch black and just across the paddy fields is the mud hut village where the families of the school children live. To the right are brick houses where the higher castes live, there are cows and goats everywhere and all you can hear is children playing, animal noises, and nothing else. We are surrounded by fields and the dry riverbed across the road. The police are in the building at the end of the track, which is actually a homeopathic college, and 4km down the road is the town of Bodhgaya. It is WONDERFUL to be here after the hectic city of Kolkata. Now I feel like I´m in India, to be honest. It is so peaceful I can´t describe it, plus I´m so tired right now it´s difficult to type. Excuse the briskness.
So the first thing was a tour of the place = wonderful. Love it. Raquel also has two dogs she rescued from the street as pups, the male is the boss and very relaxed and playful, while the younger female is quite nervous but slowly coming round. The boys are all cooking dinner already at half past 8 in the morning and it smells amazing! When everyone is ready we proceed to go to Bodhgaya altogether to see some of the many temples. Six of the boys went on bikes and the rest of us squeezed into a bloody cool 4×4 Raquel has. Now this town is very sacred and pilgrims come to visit the temples – so again, it´s so peaceful and the biggest best difference here is I feel safe. I would have no problem walking down the street on my own. None. They stare and even take photos but it´s your skin they don´t understand. The people here are very shy and do not bother you in the slightest. It allows you to actually look at people and your surroundings and I was taking pictures freely. Indeed, when we entered the first temple, the Giant/Great Buddha, we were bombarded by professional photographers with huge cameras – because we were a huge group we got on for the school and one for us to bring home – it is the best photo ever! Me, Javi, Raquel, the teacher and 11 boys who were constantly flanking us – it was the best entourage you could have! The Great Buddha is 80feet tall and made of sandstone and very impressive – I can´t wait to upload my pictures! We also visited the Tibetan temple, the Japanese temple and then the main temple which was where he obtained Enlightenment. I will google facts and figures later (again, too tired now and the light from the screen is attracting insects) but it was just so calm and everyone was relaxed and happy. We sat under a tree and did some meditation which I enjoyed and then went to walk around the grounds – it was so funny as obviously you´re barefoot and by now the ground was scorching so we were all skipping and gasping into shadey spots – a great sight. We went and visited the lake in the grounds which houses tons of huge catfish – couldn´t resist dipping my feet as they felt like they were on fire. I didn´t care that the water was green, it had to be done. We also had a drink in a little shop outside the temple and that was another great photo opportunity – al of us squished into this shop drinking Sprites hehee.
Then back in the car or on the bikes and home for food. Me and Javi decided to eat with the boys so we had their amazing dish of rice and sauce, and a potato curry dish too, was lovely. Hats off to them, all cooking together. I then joined Raquel and had vegetables and mash – it was a bit like pisto and sooooo scrummy. Yes, I know, I had two plates = pig. Seriously I´m sweating it off anyway so who cares, I have to try everything! Then… siesta time for all woohoo! It must have been near 40 degrees today so napping under the fan was heavenly. Javi was woken up by the boys a couple of hours later to go play football and Raquel and me had tea and biscuits on the veranda, watching them across the fields. Absolute heaven, seriously. We relaxed and they exercised hehee, fine by me. It soon started raining and a terrific storm arrived – it was great to photograph the boys all running down the track home in the pouring rain. While they played Raquel had two people visit the gate – one of the mothers of a girl who the school paid for her recent appendicitis operation, to let her know she was ok and bring blessed sweets. Another was a man from a house across the field, bringing more blessed fruit – it´s such a wonderful feeling here. I can´t say enough how much I´m loving it already. A little while later we went upstairs to have a sweet, coconut and raisin rice pudding with the boys – again made by them and scrummy. The chat and laughter was so so nice (all in English of course to help them) and they sand the national anthem for us too! We must have been up there for a good hour or so, and then back down to the house for bed. Well, I´ve been blogging and Javi and Raquel are deep in conversation behind me (I´m trying to keep up – improving my Spanish while I´m in India, honestly!)
So I am blogged out right now, sorry I´ve not been as detailed as I should have been but I just desperately wanted to fill in the days so I don´t miss one! Hope you´re still enjoying and everyone is well. It feels like we´ve been here for about two months, but in a good way, and I think this school is going to make us. We have lots of things planned for here and I already know I will be sponsoring one or more children from here and I have yet to meet them…