- one of a few in the area that take in
children from the street or from families who can no longer take care of them - either because of
extreme poverty or parents sickness or death.
We drove out to this particular one since we were approached by a man in town who gave us his card and urged us to join him later in the day when the children would be getting their Christmas cake treat and their new clothes and would be dancing. It was clear he was looking for money, and we decided what we would give ahead of going there and made the trip to the village.
The children saw us and ran out shouting and waving. They took our hands and pulled us inside and each one introduced him or herself and asked our names. We had to sit on chairs while they hugged the wall around the small room and groups of them danced - quite long dances....but performed with such energy and enthusiasm and watched by the other children with such evident pleasure and pride that we enjoyed the sight of both dancers and spectators. Their teacher, a young woman whose salary, we later learned, is 2000 rupees a month or about $850 kept them in order but gently.
Eventually, the owner showed up - his wife was already there - and after we had taken a little tour, he invited us to review his accounts and activity and make a contribution. He himself was raised in an orphanage he said and had decided to do this kind of social work which would also provide him with a reasonable living. The children looked very healthy and happy and all go to school and will stay at the home until they finish high school. It looked like a successful place all round and we went back next day to add to our contribution and take some treats to the children.
|Hosanna Childrens Home, Poonjeri|
|The Home on the ground floor is rented from the building owner who lives upstairs.|
|23 small children with their Xmas cakes|
|The cook, owner's wife, teacher, owner's son, & Wendy|
|The Enfield (c) outside our Pondicherry hotel|
In Pondicherry, we cruised around looking for a place to stay and lucked out at Villa Helena - a haven of an old colonial house with high ceilings,an inner courtyard green with palms, bamboos, banana plants and vines, and furnished with an eclectic range of chests and stone carvings, bronzes, wood benches and, on the walls, old Chinese movie posters and vintage photographs. Plus! comfortable beds, hot shower, and wifi and marble-topped desk etc. We could stay two nights - they are booked after that.
|Pondy hotel room (luxury - a soft bed & hot water!)|
|Pondy (ex-French) church|
In the evening, we walked the promenade along with a few thousand others on Christmas Eve. With the road closed to traffic, it was very pleasant. There is no real beach in town - it was all large black rocks with the tide right up - maybe sandy beach at low tide...
I am very conscious of looking like a brown sparrow among birds of paradise - the women in their saris all look beautiful, no matter how humble. Unfortunately, some young girls are choosing jeans and T-shirts though some wear their jeans with a gorgeous tunic - which seems a happy and comfortable compromise
Next day we drove around looking for a garage or a mechanic on the street who might be able to fix the oil leak we noticed - but had no luck with that -
|Xmas crowds on the beach|