"Lover of India" mattig's Profile
I think it was the very first time that I was leaving India to come back to Ireland that it hit me hardest. I could feel the little faces of those tiny children staring up at me as my flight departed that blood red soil - I was the fortunate one in that I could leave and go home - SO, that's why I frequently travel back now and try to do my best for the little children I help. My husband, myself and our solicitor run a very small registered Irish Charity and we help the Mercy Home in Dharmapuri, Tamil Nadu. They have, to date, 245 handicapped kids there and I'm returning in three weeks to spend five months teaching computer skills and English. Wish me luck! I'm going to travel around a little this time...something I didn't do the other times I've been. I spent time in Pondicherry which was quite nice - only, the French that Pondy people are supposed to have did not materialise at all in the five weeks I spent there ! Still, English and a little learned Tamil, made life very pleasant. Pondy is a very lovely place and I understand that now they have reclaimed back some of their beach that was washed away by a tidal wave some years back, that it's even more appealing! Maybe I'll visit again this time, who knows!. I will go to Kerala for a couple of weeks - maybe take some of the kids with me, that'll be grand altogether. Last minute bits now to organise, like my visa and then a few farewell dinners etc...
I'd be interested to talk with anyone at all who has visited Salem, Dharmapuri, Bangalore, and parts of Kerala - it'd be great to meet people there also, perhaps for coffee or the occassional wonderful Indian Pizza!
No matter how I tried, when I returned from India that very first time, I could not get her out of my mind - she invaded my dreams and every waking moment too. She grabs you and doesn't let go. She is truly a magnificent country and her people need all the love and help that we as travellers can give them, but most of all they need our respect.
Here's some of the kids I work with. They really are a joy indeed!. They are your built-in tourist guides to everywhere you want to go! They know all the cheaper places to get to and go to and buy things too. They warn you off places where you shouldn't go and people you shouldn't buy from ! Dharmapuri is a small town in Tamil Nadu, it's fairly green and hilly there too in places. It's very convenient to get almost anywhere from Dharmapuri - trains go to Chennai, Salem, Bangalore etc.. and are very frequent too. The bus service is also extremley efficient. Anyone else been to Dharmapuri? Let me know !
There are of course, several rules that apply when travelling in India. A young friend was thinking of coming with me this time until I informed her that showing your belly and cleavage off were a definite no-no and that sunbathing was a very definite tricky business, so, for this year, she has decided to stay in Ireland ! Not that sunbathing is banned of course ! It's just that one can burn so quickly in India's heat and friends have been known to get 2nd degree skin burns and left with permanent scars just from sun bathing for two hours - not to mention soothing their thirst with a very welcome cold beer, only to find that they become totally dehydrated and should have stuck to cold bottled water instead. Oh no! it's not anothe bore, telling us what to do you may say, not at all ! I have just learned some very hard lessons myself. I lived in Tiberias Israel for almost 5 years back in the late seventies/early eighties and after learning those lessons there, I never intended making the same mistakes again when living in/visiting other hot countries.
If anyone knows, though, what can be done with someone like me who must have the sweetest blood going, and the mosquito problem, I would well and truly welcome any suggestions!! This time I am going to try some "Joy" washing up liquid in water in a saucer and leave it in my room all the time. I am one of those who can cover myself literally from head to foot with mossie cream, burn two coils instead of one, spray the room and cover as much of me as possible and still wake up the following morning with at least two dozen bites ! No joke! No lies, it happens every time without a doubt! I would be VERY interested to know what others may do to combat this misery!
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