Schools are not open on Wednesdays here so we had the opportunity to visit one of the other projects that CRS support.
We had an early start, leaving Kolkata at 8 am. The journey was chaotic with traffic weaving in and out of the lanes and horns honking all the time. It”s a wonder there are not more accidents! The road was a bit like a motorway in England but had bikes, tuktuks, people walking at the side, and even cows standing next to it. Definitely not something we would see!
Our driver pulled over to the local garage to put air in the tyres of the bus - you will see in the video that this is not like the garages we have at home.
We drove over the Howrah Bridge that we saw from the river on Sunday. It seemed to take a long time to get away from the city and suburbs, but when we did the difference was noticeable.
On the way we went through little villages with market stalls - fruit, vegetables, fish, meat and flowers. There were cows and goats wandering around and we saw trucks with men standing in the back of them, and even a man riding on top of a bus!
After 3 hours we arrived at Geokhali. We got out of the minibus to be greeted by tuktuks waiting to take us to the project area.
Wow! It was so different to the city. There were no cars, no horns honking, green everywhere you looked, rice fields, cranes (birds not machinery) and it was very peaceful. The air was fresh and the sky was clear.
When we arrived we were greeted by the man who is in charge of the project - he was so welcoming. We were taken in to the small church building where children were waiting. Each of us were presented with some flowers and then a beautiful young girl performed a traditional dance, there were some poetry recitals and prayers.
Following this we were shown the women’s project - Nari Dana. It means wings to freedom. It is especially for women where they learn how to sew so that they have skills to be able to earn money for their families. Once the women have completed their sewing course they then are paid to make school uniforms for children in schools across the area.
We were privileged to be shown samples of their work - they are so proud of what they do. The sewing was immaculate and you could see how much effort they put in to what they are learning. Mrs Hodgson needs to practice more on her French knots when she is doing her cross stitch pictures!
We went into the schoolroom for our lunch which was….. curry!
When lunch was finished we had chance to have a walk around the oasis of calm before the return journey to Kolkata.
Today was a very special day.
Can you identify any of the flowers in the church garden especially the one covered in thorns?
As soon as we returned to Bishop’s house we jumped on the iPad to make a video call. Today it was lovely to see Mrs Christie and her class as well as Miss Proud - sorry to disturb your times table test! It was lovely to see your friendly smiling faces and to answer your questions.