How can I refuse a very tempting offer?
An opportunity to tell stories, breathe in some wonderful village air and an open invitation to bring the kids along...
I grabbed it with both hands!!
An opportunity to share my passion for stories, books and and storytelling with children in a remote village near Tirunelveli came to me through a friend.
Please drop into this website to see what a single woman and her passion has created
The busy Tirunelveli junction was conspicuously clean compared to the bedlam and dirt that one encounters in large city stations. To my son's delight we were received by our 'driver', who had come in an extra large (I mention this, as I had a huge suitcase and bag and they were packed neatly and comfortably into it!) auto rickshaw (a share auto-as it is called in Chennai) to ferry us to the village of Kodaganallur. I kept my eyes pealed trying to soak in as much as I could, but the heat was soporific and lulled us all into a sleepy limbo. The auto jogged and jolted over a dirt track, entered a street and halted in front of a house. I could see a quaint Iyengar (the U namam on the temple facade leaving no doubts in my mind that this was an Agraharam) at the end of the street and something inside me smiled with a sense of belonging.
My friend popped out of her house, a hug and a beaming welcome followed and it felt as if I knew her for ages, but actually this was the first time I was meeting her in person!
Here is a view from the guest house we stayed in: look carefully you can see the temple
"The Tamirai Barani River washes its walls on its Eastern side!!"
(aka Pied Piper of Hamelin!)
A Picnic!! Yep we crossed the river that evening and joined the children and staff of Yoke Society on the other side of the River!
Climbing sand bunds across one of the canals dug up for channeling water
Climbing a huge Banyan tree
Snack Time : Mysore Pack and Mixture washed down with 7-Up!
What a grand way to initiate my kids into village life!
I assure you my son took to it like fish to water...
Wanted to go swimming in the river and so he did with a gang the next day; but I am jumping the gun...
What I saw, was cohesion, a camaraderie, a spirited community created by Chitra (and her husband). Within this space of ownership and togetherness they hope to create a model for sustainable living. Village communities are rich and diverse cauldrons of talent and here I see their potential being nurtured by this couple with a passion that is infectious. Yet sustaining interest and keeping energies high, motivating youngsters, throwing challenges, having a common vision, these are all daunting tasks in their hand, but they are doing a tremendous job.
Empower a woman and so empower a family.
Empower the Youth and so empower a Community/ Village
I look forward to a looong relationship with this powerful community and as for what I did (besides having a good time)...wait and watch for the next post...
(Pleased do share your thoughts and leave your comments on the comment page and do drop by YOKE whenever you can...I can vouch for their hospitality!)