Monday- the day was planned out the night before and the day went largely to plan for perhaps the first time. Tom’s morning started very early, about 5.30 a woman called wanting a lot of money for a heart procedure due today. She asked Tom for 15,000 rupees to pay for the operation. Tom knows the woman, she has a history of asking for money so he went with her to the hospital. The procedure cost 500 rupees! The rest of the team had breakfast at 8am, the usual time, then went off with Philip about 9am.
There was one visit to do before going on to Trivandrum for some shopping and if time permitted, an hour in a nearby toursist park by the beach. It was about 30 minutes drive to visit Babu and Shalama, their toilet had ‘collapsed’. Babu has recently fallen and broken is thigh bone. He has a number of external pins and external frame to set the bone; he needs crutches to move around. He is a daily labourer when fit to work, think of zero hours contract without a contract! Shamalu appears to have athritis affecting her wrists and ankles. She is unable to work. The outside toilet building is in considerable disrepair with what you could only describe as a temporary roof weighted down with stone and wood. It is sited down some difficult steps outside in the back garden. Their house is on the hillside and they have a reasonable amount of land. The Department of Agriculture have provided growing bags and seedlings for the pair to grow and sell the chillies when ready.
After some discussion it was decided that HHI will fund a new toilet building closer to the back door and on level ground; it will have an ‘English’ toilet. HHI will also buy them a goat which will provide means of income in the future. Shamala was very happy and assured Edmund the money will go towards a new toilet. Philip will monitor the work and go with Babu to buy a goat. Chris left a small donation for them to buy food. Philip returned to the Therapy Centre so the team were left to fend for themsleves with only a non-English driver to help them.
Work done and now for shopping! Top of the list – craft goods to be sold in UK to raise funds. There was opportunity to buy gifts, sandals and spices at the Bazaar. The Bazaar is a bustling place with a lot of Indian crafts and fresh food, particularly spices in their natural form. Once the shopping was done the team went off to a nearby tourist park which runs along side a lagoon and near a beach and sea. Mango lolly ices were most welcome.
The team were invited to Chandra Babu’s house for dinner (he runs the Idinjar Tuition Centre). His wife, Lily, made them a wonderful meal with ice cream for dessert. As the darkness drew in it was time to set off ‘home’. The driver was a Hindu and consequently his driving was more erratic in already difficult driving conditions. Carol commented on his driving “he seems to have good spacial awareness” as he squeezed the car between a motorbike and a bus. Chris replied "yes, as he overtakes a bus, on the wrong side of the road, directly facing a lorry, he knows he does not have enough space and he hopes the lorry driver is aware!”
They got home safely.
Tomorrow is a long day, travelling north to the area recently hit by flooding. The team will see if there is anymore HHI needs to do.