As you can see from the title, this is my 500th Post! I wanted to make it a little bit special to celebrate the occasion, so I've invited a special Guest Blogger along to entertain you today! (Well, she is very special to ME!!).
I would like to introduce you to my number one granddaughter, Eleanor, who has kindly agreed to write a few words about her recent trip to India.
"Hallo to all Grandma's Bloggy Friends. The following photo is when we all gathered together at Gare du Nord train station enroute to Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, at 4 a.m. in the morning (NOT the best time for me!!). I had been SO excited about our trip for weeks, and could hardly believe that we were actually on our way!
After leaving the luxury of Bombay behind on our first night in India, we flew to Indore. We stayed at Daly College for the week - a beautiful school with a huge campus and many activities for us to participate in.
Although I would have loved to have stayed there during the day, we had much more important things to do. At the crack of dawn each morning (5 a.m.) we all got up and began work. The first couple of days involved walking through the slums and telling as many people as possible about our Project : ICU2.
My school has been organizing this Project every year since 2005. It involves us giving free eye tests, glasses, and cataract operations to anyone who needs them. We set up our tent and four, long, intense days followed in which we screened over 6,571 people, gave out 5,37l pairs of glasses and 300 cataract operations were carried out.
We had set a new record! We were all very proud of ourselves and I can safely say that it was the most rewarding experience of my life so far. It was very hard to say goodbye to all the extraordinary people I had met during that week, but more unforgettable experiences were awaiting me in Mumbai.
We flew back and met up with the Exchange Students who we will be playing host to when they come to Paris next week. During that weekend, we were able to form a bond with our correspondents as we worked on building the foundations of a school in a small, rural village, an hour outside Mumbai. We really got to know each other better and and my correspondent and I got on very well.
|It was very hot all the time we were there, with temperatures reaching 40 degrees!|
After we had finished in the village, I spent the next few days in Rhea's apartment. This was when we saw a very striking contrast between the different classes in India. In Indore, we had seen the very poor, but now, in Mumbai, our hosts were in a different league again. They had Housekeepers to tend to their every need, and drivers who would take them everywhere. It was a very surreal experience for me, and not one that I particularly enjoyed. Even though everyone at the Ambani School were very nice, we had seen so much poverty the week before, that it was very hard for us to take in how they treated the people who worked for them. These people were just so thankful to have a job, but I could not help but feeling a little bitter.
Overall, the trip has made a lasting impression on me (one that I am sure I will never forget) and I very much look forward to putting these experiences to good use in later life. There were so many photos, but here is a little collage which I hope you will enjoy. Thank you!"
Well my friends, I do hope that you enjoyed Eleanor's guest post. You can see why I'm so proud of her, can't you?! After they arrived back, all the parents involved received an e -mail from their School Principal and he said "throughout these two weeks, I witnessed the creation of a team, and a family. All of us accompanying staff members were immensely proud of the way our group acted, both in work and play, and would like to thank you all for being such polite, respectful, engaged and mature students and travellers. You made our job easy!"
Thank you so much for doing this Eleanor. It is such a privilege to see how you have become such a caring, thoughtful and beautiful young woman.
Well my friends, I will see you again soon, and here's to the next 500 Posts - Gulp!!